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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Winners of four of its first five league weekend tests for the first time in 12 years, UTA will travel to face ULM in a crucial three-game series in the Sun Belt Conference standings, with first pitch in the series opener slated for 6 p.m. CT at Warhawk Stadium. The series will resume on Saturday at 2 p.m. and conclude on Sunday at 1 p.m.
UTA (20-17, 10-5 Sun Belt Conference) has opened its first half of the conference schedule with a 10-5 mark and sit a half game shy of first place in the league standings. UTA's stretch of wins in four of its first five weekend matchups in league mark a first since 2005 and the 10-5 mark is the best for the club since the 2013 Western Athletic Conference Championship season.
The Mavs will seek to improve on a 10-5 road record and a 12-5 record away from Clay Gould Ballpark. UTA is blistering hot since the calendar turned to March, sporting an 18-10 record over the last two months. UTA has won three straight league weekend matchups entering the series at ULM. The Warhawks have won the last two meetings in the series with UTA and have claimed four of the last five games between the clubs.
In midweek action, UTA earned its second top-25 win of the season with a 3-2 result over No. 23 Texas A&M on Tuesday, in front of 1,939 at Clay Gould Ballpark, the second-largest crowd in program history. In the win, UTA got seven consecutive shutout innings from its relief unit, including two-inning stints from Dylan Schneider, Austin Gardner and Daniel James, with James earning his conference-leading ninth save of the year in the win over the Aggies.
Tuesday's win was UTA's 17th game decided by two runs or less, with the Mavs sporting a 9-8 record in such contests. UTA has excelled in close games, with a 187-185 season run scored/allowed total and a Sun Belt leading 14 saves in 20 wins.
Friday at ULM
Sr., RHP Kadon Simmons (5-2, 2.90 ERA vs. TBD
Saturday at ULM
Jr., RHP Trae Patterson (3-3, 3.28 ERA) vs. TBD
Sunday at ULM
Jr., LHP Jakob Hernandez (3-0, 3.21) vs. TBD
In 2017, Simmons has worked in 62 innings, owning 62 innings pitched, allowing 61 hits and 10 walks, striking out 34. A native of Cut & Shoot, Texas, Simmons has a 14-6 record in his career with a 2.99 ERA in 24 starts and 165.1 innings, allowing 156 hits and 34 walks, striking out 99.
A native of Fort Worth, Texas, Patterson has made 10 appearances and nine starts in 2017, working 57.2 innings, with 52 hits allowed and 14 walks, striking out 38.
A native of Parker, Colo., Hernandez has worked in 53.1 innings, allowing 52 hits and 26 walks, striking out a team-high 57.
LEADING THE MAVS
UTA has hit .271 as a team in 2017, scoring 187 runs in 37 games, belting 46 doubles, seven triples, 20 homers and sporting a .361 on-base percentage. The Mavs have struck out the fewest time of any team in the Sun Belt Conference in 2017, while ranking third in hits. Defensively, UTA rank second in the circuit in double plays (37), while throwing out 14 of 35 would-be stealers. On the bump, the Mavs sport a 4.00 team ERA – second-best in the Sun Belt – with 332.2 innings pitched, allowing 329 hits and 115 walks, striking out 267 with a .262 opponent average.
Sophomore OF Aaron Funk has hit .333 with two doubles, two triples, one homer and 10 RBI. Sophomore C Will Olson has hit .327 with three doubles, two homers and 16 RBI, owning a .426 on-base percentage. Senior OF/IF Quintin Rohrbaugh leads the team with eight doubles, hitting .320 with two triples, three homers and 25 RBI, stealing five bases. Junior CF Phil Berthiaume has added a .301 average with a homer and 11 RBI, with junior 1B Omar Salinas leading the team with 28 RBI, hitting .299 with seven doubles, five homers and a .420 on-base percentage. Sophomore CF Noah Vaughan leads the team with six homers, adding a .239 average with three doubles, one triple and 21 RBI, stealing a team-high six bases.
In relief, Daniel James (0-1, 2.45 ERA) has a league-leading nine saves in 12 games, despite missing the first four weeks due to fall hip surgery. Austin Gardner (2-1, 3.57 ERA), Dylan Schneider (1-2, 4.38 ERA), Jordon West (0-2, 8.10 ERA) and Matt Michalski (0-1, 8.25 ERA) are righties that have pitched in at least nine games each. Adam Meyer (0-3, 3.00 ERA), Jake Wilcox (2-1, 7.31 ERA) and Brad Vassar (2-1, 9.90 ERA) have each worked in at least eight games in relief from the left side.
SCOUTING THE WARHAWKS
ULM (11-27, 5-10 Sun Belt) has hit .261 as a team n 2017, scoring 139 runs in 38 games, with 60 doubles, seven triples, 19 homers and a .327 on-base percentage, stealing 18 bases. Defensively, ULM has fielded .962, turning 33 double plays and throwing out 24 of 67 would-be basestealers. On the bump, ULM has a 6.32 team ERA in 326.1 innings, allowing 413 hits and 136 walks, striking out 256.
Tyler Cox leads the team with a .342 average, owning three doubles and three homers, driving in 11. Chad Bell has hit .292 with nine doubles, four homers and 16 RBI, with Turner Francis hitting .296 with five doubles, two triples, two homers and 18 RBI.
In relief, Anthony Herrera (1-2, 1.50 ERA) leads the team with six saves, working in 15 games with 30 innings pitched, allowing only 22 hits and five walks, striking out 35. Tyler Schwaner (1-1, 4.10 ERA) and Chase Cater (1-1, 7.57 ERA) have each appeared in at least 20 games in relief.
UTA leads the all-time series with ULM 43-30, including a 21-14 mark in games played in Monroe. The Warhawks have won two consecutive series meetings between the teams, with UTA's last series win in Monroe coming in 2004. ULM has won four of the last five games in the series.