SB: UTA travels to Lubbock to continue trip
March 5, 2014
UT Arlington (11-8) at Jeannine McHaney Memorial Classic
By Michael Eldridge | UTAMavs.com
ARLINGTON, Texas - UT Arlington travels to Lubbock on Thursday to begin play in the Jeannine McHaney Memorial Classic hosted by Texas Tech.
The Mavericks, opening against the Red Raiders at 5:30 p.m., are 11-8 overall and 1-2 during the first three games of a 16-game road trip that takes UTA into Sun Belt Conference play on March 22.
"After our weekend in Arizona, we really focused on defense," UT Arlington coach Kristie Fox said. "We took a lot of groundballs and pop flies this week. We cannot miss routine plays when our pitchers do a good job of getting hitters to hit our pitch."
Thursday night's contest against Texas Tech is the second meeting between the teams this season. The Red Raiders defeated the Mavericks 4-1 on Feb. 20 to begin play in the UTA Hilton Invitational.
"I think that in the Texas Tech game we weren't ready to go in the first inning and emotions and adrenaline were running high," Fox said. "Now that we already faced them once we know we can compete at that level and I expect more composure."
Following the game against the Red Raiders, UTA is scheduled to face New Mexico State and Northern Colorado on Friday. The Mavericks get Abilene Christian on Saturday and New Mexico State again on Sunday to close out play.
FOLLOWING THE TOURNAMENT: Live Stats and video streaming is available live on TexasTech.com. Updates and live Mavericks coverage can be found on twitter @UTAMavs.
COLLINS NAMED SBC PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Senior pitcher Callie Collins earned UT Arlington's first Sun Belt Conference softball accolades by being named the SBC Pitcher of the Week.
Collins made five appearances and three starts during the UTA Hilton Invitational, earning a 3-0 record and allowing just two earned runs through 19.1 innings pitched.
HEAD-TO-HEAD vs. OPPONENTS: First All-Time Meeting: Abilene Christian
Texas Tech (TTU leads 12-4) - Facing off on Feb. 20 in Arlington, UTA and Tech were tied at 1 until a three-run fifth helped the Raiders to a 4-1 win.
New Mexico State (NMSU leads 11-8) - The Aggies and Mavs met as Western Athletic Conference foes during UTA's brief stay in the conference. NMSU swept the three-game series in Las Cruces, N.M.
Northern Colorado (UTA leads 2-0) - UTA has won both meetings between the Mavs and Bears, the last a 6-0 win in 2005.
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.