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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Sporting its longest winning streak in four seasons, UTA will break from its conference title chase with a midweek tilt at No. 25 Texas, with first pitch on Tuesday slated for 6:30 p.m. at Disch-Falk Field. The game will be televised live on the Longhorn Network, also available on ESPN3 or the ESPNapp.
UTA (26-17, 16-5 Sun Belt Conference) takes an eight-game winning streak into the midweek battle at Texas, its longest winning streak since 2014. The Mavs have won 12 of their last 13 games, are 24-10 since March and have won 14 of their last 15 outings. UTA is fresh off a weekend sweep of No. 20 Louisiana, the first in program history, and the Mavs have now set a program record with a 5-3 record vs. ranked opponents. UTA is receiving votes in the latest National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association top-30 poll for the first time since the preseason.
Texas (30-16, 9-8 Big 12) has vaulted back into the top-25 polls with an appearance at No. 25 in the Baseball America ranking. The Longhorns swept Oklahoma State in a doubleheader on Friday in Stillwater after suffering an 8-1 loss to Louisiana on Tuesday in midweek action. Led by first-year head coach David Pierce, formerly of Tulane and Sam Houston State, the Longhorns have ridding a sterling 2.87 ERA in conference play into contention for an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Sr., RHP Matt Michalski (0-1, 8.25 ERA) vs. Jr., RHP Kyle Johnston (2-1, 3.26 ERA)
Michalski will be making his second start of the year in midweek play on Tuesday at Texas. Michalski has worked 12 innings, allowing 16 hits and 11 runs, walking six but striking out 13. Michalski recently shined in a 3.2 inning relief stint at Dallas Baptist on a windy, offensive day, allowing just two runs with five strikeouts, working around four doubles. His last start came vs. Abilene Christian on March 15. In his career, Michalski has appeared in 24 games with six starts, owning a 1-6 record and a 7.38 ERA, tossing 42.2 innings with 49 hits and 22 walks allowed, striking out 35.
Johnston has appeared in 12 games with seven starts in 2017, owning two saves in 49.2 innings, allowing only 37 hits with 24 walks and 38 strikeouts, with opponents hitting a measly .209. Johnston has made two Big 12 starts for the Longhorns, sporting a 3.07 ERA with five runs allowed on nine walks and 10 strikeouts in 14.2 league innings.
LEADING THE MAVS
UTA (26-17, 16-5 Sun Belt) has hit .275 as a team in 2017, scoring 237 runs in 43 games, belting 61 doubles, nine triples, 22 homers and reaching base at a .368 clip, sporting 35 bases. On the mound, UTA has a 3.86 team ERA – second-best in the circuit – with a league-leading 16 saves in 386.2 innings, allowing 379 hits and 133 walks, striking out 317. Defensively, UTA has fielded .971, ranking in the top-25 in the nation with 42 double plays turned, throwing out 16 of 40 would-be basestealers.
At the dish, sophomore catcher Will Olson leads the club with a .328 average, with four doubles, two homers and 18 RBI, owning a club-high .443 on-base percentage. Senior leftfielder Quintin Rohrbaugh has hit .315 with nine doubles, two triples, three homers and 31 RBI, stealing six bases. Sophomore rightfielder Aaron Funk has hit .311 with two doubles, two triples, one homer and 10 RBI, with freshman infielder Zac Cook batting .310 with three doubles and six RBI. Junior first baseman Omar Salinas leads the team with 34 RBI and seven homers, adding a .304 average with nine doubles and a .418 on-base percentage. Junior infielder Christian Hollie has hit .299 with two homers, junior second baseman Easton Johnson has batted .275 with 16 RBI and junior centerfielder Phil Berthiaume has hit .274 with a homer and 11 RBI. Sophomore centerfielder Noah Vaughan has batted .253 with seven doubles, two triples and six homers, driving in 29 runs and stealing nine bases.
UTA has used the weekend rotation of senior righty Kadon Simmons (7-2, 3.30 ERA) on Fridays, junior righty Trae Patterson (5-3, 2.85 ERA) on Saturdays and junior southpaw Jakob Hernandez (5-0, 3.38 ERA) on Sundays.
In relief, UTA has been led by Sun Belt save leader Daniel James (0-1, 2.49 ERA) who sports 11 saves and 19 strikeouts in 21.2 innings. Senior righty Austin Gardner (2-1, 2.76 ERA) and junior lefty Adam Meyer (0-3, 2.86 ERA) are vital bullpen weapons in the late innings, with sophomore righty Dylan Schneider, junior lefty Jake Wilcox (2-1, 7.31 ERA) and junior right-hander Jordon West (0-2, 8.10 ERA) each appearing in double-digit games.
SCOUTING THE LONGHORNS
Texas (30-16, 9-8 Big 12) has hit .246 as a team in 46 games, scoring 233 runs with 80 doubles, five triples and 37 homers, with a .361 on-base percentage and 55 steals. Defensively, UT has fielded .983 as a team, turning 48 double plays and throwing out nine of 31 would-be basestealers. On the mound, UT is boosted by a great team ERA, 2.88, earning 16 saves in 405.2 innings, allowing only 322 hits and 164 walks, striking out 354 with opponents hitting only .220.
At the plate, Kacy Clemons leads the team with a .301 average with 12 doubles, eight homers and 34 RBI. Austin Todd has hit .276 with seven doubles, one triple and 14 RBI, with Travis Jones hitting .273 with 14 doubles, three homers, 23 RBI and 11 steals.
In relief, Beau Ridgeway (1-1, 1.47 ERA) leads the team with 10 saves in 36.2 innings, striking out 29. Chase Shugart (2-2, 5.11 ERA) and Nick Kennedy (6-0, 2.60 ERA) have each appeared in double-digit games in relief.
Texas leads the all-time series with UTA, 56-18, including a 55-17 mark in games played in Austin. The Mavs won the last meeting – the first ever in Arlington – 6-5 in 2015. UTA's last win in Austin came in 2012.
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