SB: UTA opens home schedule Friday
Feb. 13, 2014
UT Arlington (3-2) hosts UTA Maverick Invitational
By Michael Eldridge | UTAMavs.com
ARLINGTON, Texas - The UT Arlington softball team opens up its 2014 home slate Friday by hosting the UTA Maverick Invitational at Allan Saxe Field.
The Mavericks opened the season with a 3-2 record after their first tournament of the season in St. George, Utah. UTA welcomes South Dakota State, Missouri State and Central Michigan to the tournament.
"We have brought in some really quality teams for our first home weekend," UT Arlington coach Kristie Fox said. "These should be really competitive games. We are also playing a tournament format, so instead of just games for the sake of wins and losses all the teams are competing to win a final. This adds to the atmosphere in our stadium."
UTA fell in 2013's home opener, but are 3-2 over the course of the last five. This season, the Mavs hope to build a home field advantage that begins with a doubleheader on Friday. UTA opens with South Dakota State at 1 p.m. before taking on Missouri State at 3 p.m. UTA closes out the round robin format vs. Central Michigan on Saturday at 1 p.m.
"As our facilities continue to get better, playing at home gives us an advantage," Fox said. "It provides a comfort level for the players, our field, our cages and our fans. We are really excited to see the response since we are allowing free admission, access to the players and Fuzzy's being in our concession stand."
FOLLOWING THE TOURNAMENT: Live video and game stats are available throughout the tournament at UTAMavs.com.
HEAD-TO-HEAD vs. OPPONENTS: The Mavs have faced two of the three opponents in the UTA Maverick invitational in Maverick history, however, the first will be against an unfamiliar foe.
The home opener against South Dakota State will be the first meeting between the programs all-time.
UTA holds the all-time series advantage against the remaining two opponents. UTA holds a 5-3 all-time advantage over Missouri State, the last meeting in 2004 that UTA won 3-2. The Mavs lead Central Michigan 1-0, the lone meeting taking place in 2007 in a 12-1 UTA win.
SECOND YEAR UNDER FOX: UT Arlington begins its second season under coach Kristie Fox. Fox helped the Mavs improve from a 15-26 record in 2012 to a 25-28 record in 2013. Fox, a former All-American, was a two-time national champion at Arizona and an assistant coach at Texas Tech prior to accepting the position with the Mavericks.
THIRD YEAR, THIRD CONFERENCE: The Mavericks softball 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.
MAVS PICKED 7TH IN PRESEASON: The Sun Belt tabbed the Mavericks to finish seventh in the conference, according to the SBC Preseason Poll. UTA picked up 21 points in the poll, well behind favorite UL Lafayette. The Ragin' Cajuns received six first place votes to go along with their 62 points overall.
PRESEASON PLAYER HONORS: Junior infielder Nina Villanueva and sophomore outfielder Britnea Barilli were both at-large selections to the Sun Belt Conference Preseason Team. Villanueva led the Mavericks with a .328 batting average, while Barilli finished with a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.