UTA Notes | Tiger Classic Central
UTA Softball Weekend Schedule:
2/8 vs. Syracuse, 9:30 a.m. - Live Stats
2/8 vs. LSU, 5 p.m. -Live Stats | ESPN3
2/9 vs. UMass, 9:30 a.m. -Live Stats
2/9 vs. Southern Miss, 12 p.m. -Live Stats
2/10 vs. Southern Miss 11:30 a.m. -Live Stats
BATON ROUGE, La. - The Peejay Brun era of Maverick softball celebrates its first pitch on Friday with UT Arlington opening its 2018 season in the Tiger Classic with a full weekend slate of five games.
The Mavericks open the season at 9:39 a.m. against ACC foe Syracuse in the first game of the Tiger Classic hosted by LSU. The day continues against No. 8 LSU on ESPN3 at 5 p.m. UTA returns a wealth of talent from the 2017 squad that reached the postseason for the first time since 2003, including three of the four all-conference selections.
Brun takes over a 32-win team after being an assistant coach at Texas State. Brun helped guide the Bobcats to several NCAA Regionals as well as Sun Belt championships. Prior, she was a head coach at Hawaii-Hilo for two years and is a graduate of Hawaii.
The Mavericks follow up the five-game slate with their home opener on Tuesday, welcoming Texas Tech to Allan Saxe Field for a 3 p.m. first pitch.
HOW TO WATCH/FOLLOW
Friday night's tilt with LSU is the lone matchup available to watch this weekend with the contest being featured on ESPN3/WatchESPN App. The four other games will have live stats available at the Tiger Classic Central, as well as updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/utasoftball
UTA is meeting with Syracuse and UMass for the first time in program history, while it owns a 2-1 record against both LSU and Southern Miss all-time. UTA and LSU are meeting for the first time since 1992 and Southern Miss since 2006.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
- Sandra Mendoza and Krista Rude enter the year as they continue to chase all-time program records. Both are currently above the all-time batting average record. Rude led the team with a .359 batting average last season and holds a career average of .370. Mendoza enters her senior season with a .368 career average as she is on pace to break the hits, doubles and average record. Her 37 doubles are tied for third in program history, needing just 12 to tie Autumn Petrino's top mark of 49. Her 115 hits are fifth, 43 away from Brenda Woodard's 158. Her 80 RBI are just 6 away from entering the UTA top-10, while she needs 37 from tying Dee Jay Nelson's top mark of 117.
- The depth of the Mavericks is at an all-time high with just two spots not featuring returning regular starters from last season (right field - Mallory Foster, and third base - Shelbi Sikes).
- Mendoza combined with Aileen Garcia and Whitney Walton to feature the nation's 12th-best infield in terms of turning double plays last season.
- UTA reached the postseason for the first time since 2003 when they played in the Lamar Regional of the NISC (National Invitational Softball Championship).
- UTA reached the Sun Belt final 3 for the first time since joining the league. Laura Curry provided a 3-run homer with 2 outs, 2 strikes in the 7th inning against Georgia State to tie the game, eventually winning in extra innings. UTA would fall to Texas State 1-0 in a hard-fought loss.
Brun brings 19 years of collegiate coaching experience to the Mavericks program, including six as a head coach. For nine of the last 11 seasons, she has served as an assistant coach at Texas State University.
A 1994 graduate of the University of Hawai'i, Brun comes to UTA following one season in her second stint as an assistant at Texas State after serving as the head coach at the University of Hawai'i at Hilo for two years. She led UH Hilo to a 63-33-1 overall record, a 41-19-1 record in the PacWest Conference.
Brun developed a NFCA All-America selection, eight all-league honorees and two all-region selections at UH Hilo. Eighteen student-athletes under her direction earned all-PacWest academic honors and six were named NFCA Academic All- America.
LAST TIME OUT
UTA ended its time in the Lamar Regional of the National Invitational Softball Championship with a disappointing effort, dropping both games in matchups against Abilene Christian and ULM after entering as the Regional's top-ranked team in terms of RPI and seeding
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SB: UTA hosts Texas Tech on Tuesday