March 27, 2013
Melissa Cebold | UTAMavs.com
ARLINGTON, Texas — UT Arlington leads the Western Athletic Conference in team pitching with a combined ERA of 1.89 and 165 strikeouts. The Mavericks have also allowed the fewest runs with 83.
Senior pitcher and three-year letter winner Teri Lyles leads the conference with an ERA of 1.77 in 118.2 innings. Callie Collins is not far behind, currently placing third in the WAC with an ERA of 2.07 in 18 appearances.
Collins is second in the WAC with 83 strikeouts, while Lyles is right behind her with 82 strikeouts this season.
“Callie brings a completely different pitching style to the game than Teri,” UT Arlington assistant coach Meagan Denny-White said. “Callie throws a little bit harder so she’s got a little bit more velocity. She has absolutely wonderful spot location.”
Collins threw a career-high 16 strikeouts in an eight-inning win over Seattle U this past weekend, which is among the best single-game totals in UTA history.
“I think she’s brought a positive light even though she struggled a little bit,” UTA coach Kristie Fox said. “She’s never given up on any of her teammates and I don’t think her teammates have given up on her.”
Collins, a Rusk, Texas native, was named the 2011 Southland Conference Pitcher of the Year as a freshman and has had a positive impact on her team from the start.
“Callie is always pumping us up,” Lyles said about her counterpart. “If we’re down or even if we’re not down, she’s always the one who’s in the circle when we’re about to hit cheering us on.
“Even though she doesn’t hit, she’s pumped up. She’s always in the game even though she’s not hitting and she’s always 100 percent in it.”
Even though Collins may be the one cheering everyone on during the game, Lyles’ sense of leadership can be felt as soon as she takes the field.
“She’s out there on the mound and she just demands everyone’s presence and demands everyone’s respect and their trust,” White said. “That has really taken her to the next level and has really gotten her up to par, and gotten the team to play behind her.”
Lyles has also been honored with conference accolades, earning SLC Freshman of the year and being named to the SLC all-tournament team in 2010. The senior has already made a name for herself in the WAC record books, receiving Pitcher of the Week honors twice already this season.
She also pitched her first no-hitter of her career on March 3 in a 3-0 victory over Creighton in Arlington.
Lyles’ success doesn’t come easy. She makes time to work hard and get pitches perfect during practice to make sure she is prepared for the games.
“In the bullpen we work really hard. We don’t leave the bullpen until something’s right and that’s kind of her attitude, which I love,” White said. “I love that she has a fighter mentality and she just demands perfection.”
Fox, in her first season as a head coach, has enjoyed the success of her two-player pitching staff.
“I think they’ve exceeded my original expectations. They’ve really stepped up and thrown some really good games,” Fox said.
Lyles and Collins return to the circle this weekend as the team heads to Ruston, Louisiana for a three-game WAC series against Louisiana Tech.