BSB: UTA faces South Alabama in SBC opener
May 20, 2014
No. 2 UT Arlington (30-25, 19-11 SBC) vs. No. 7 South Alabama (22-31, 11-18 SBC)
Sun Belt Conference Championship
ARLINGTON, Texas - UT Arlington rides a seven-game winning streak into the Sun Belt Conference Championship that begins on Wednesday at Stanky Field in Mobile, Ala.
The Mavericks finished the regular season in second in the final SBC standings after winning all seven games in conference play, including back-to-back weekend sweeps. UTA opens play against tournament host South Alabama in the first round at 7:30 p.m.
UTA swept the Jaguars when the teams met in the regular season on March 29-30. The Mavericks outscored the Jaguars 20-6 in the series to earn UTA's first-ever Sun Belt series win in the team's first year in the league.
FOLLOWING THE SBC CHAMPIONSHIP: Live video of all SBC Championship games can be found at SunBeltSports.org. The winner's bracket championship and SBC Championship can also be viewed on WatchESPN.com. Live stats are available on SunBeltSports.org and links to UTA games can be found at UTAMavs.com. Audio for UTA games can be accessed at UTARadio.com.
For updates and information throughout the tournament, follow UTA on Twitter @UTAMavs.
BACK-TO-BACK 1-0 SHUTOUTS: UT Arlington completed the sweep against Texas State by winning the final two games of the series 1-0. The shutouts were UTA's first back-to-back shutouts since 2006 and first time at home since 1994.
The 1-0 shutouts were the first time UTA ever accomplished the feat and 13th time in program history to accomplish back-to-back shutouts. UTA has accomplished three consecutive shutouts just two times in program history (1976 vs. SMU and U of Dallas, 1972 vs. Arkansas State).
AWARDS SWEEP TO END SEASON: UT Arlington swept the Sun Belt weekly awards for a second time this season as seniors Brad Vachon and Greg McCall were named SBC Pitcher and Hitter of the week respectively.
Vachon struck out a season-high nine Texas State batters in 7.0 innings of scoreless ball, while McCall belted two homers in Game 1 and was one shy of UTA's single-game RBI record with seven. McCall also provided the game-winning RBI in Game 2 as he singled in the eighth to give the Mavs a 1-0 lead.
MAVS OFFENSE AT THE TOP OF THE NATION: The Mavericks entered the week in the top 25 nationally in seven major team offensive categories. UTA is eighth in doubles (114), 10th in hits (583), 11th in home runs (43), 16th in slugging percentage (.430), 24th in batting average (.296), 26th in on-base percentage (.383), and 30th in runs (337).
Matt Shortall is fourth in doubles (24), eighth in total bases (141), 12th in hits (84), 33rd in SLG% (.590), 40th in RBI (50) and 55th in home runs (9). Ryan Bottger is 45th in SLG% (.580), 32nd in OBP (.469), 86th in doubles (16), 64th in total bases (105) and 72nd in batting average (.365).
THOMAS REACHES 200 WINS: UT Arlington coach Darin Thomas became UTA Baseball's second coach to reach 200 all-time wins. Thomas joined Butch McBroom (757-686-2) to achieve the feat in UTA's win against TWU on April 29.
RECORD SETTER: UTA's 19-inning game at McNeese State (2/21) is the longest game played in Mavericks' history.Justin Copeland tied a NCAA DI record, as well as set new a UTA and Sun Belt Conference record, with 10 at-bats. Shortall's four doubles set a new UTA all-time record and tied the SBC record.
The Mavs hit nine doubles as a team to tie a UTA record, now done twice with the last coming against TCU in 1993. Miller was hit by four pitches in the game to tie for second in the NCAA DI record books. Finally, McCall's 25 putouts ties him at sixth all-time in DI baseball history.
THIRD YEAR, THIRD CONFERENCE: The Mavericks baseball team will be in their third conference in as many years with the move to the Sun Belt Conference. UTA moved from the Southland Conference in 2012 to the Western Athletic Conference in 2013.
BACK-TO-BACK CHAMPIONSHIPS: UT Arlington finished the 2013 season with 31-27 record and a share of the Western Athletic Conference regular-season title. It was UTA's second consecutive championship (2012 SLC Tournament). McCall (second-team), Shortall (first-team) and Brad Vachon (second-team) earned All-WAC honors last season.
MAVS PICKED FIFTH IN PRESEASON: The Mavericks were picked to finish fifth in their first season in the Sun Belt Conference by league coaches.
PRESEASON PLAYER HONORS: Shortall was named to the 2014 Louisville Slugger preseason All-American third-team, as well as the preseason All-SBC team. Shortall and Vachon also earned preseason All-SBC honors from College Sports Madness.