ARLINGTON, Texas – With two games separating four teams in the Sun Belt Conference standings, UT Arlington softball hosts long time rival Texas State in the last regular season series of the year on May 5-6.
The Mavericks (27-23, 12-12) are sitting tied for fifth in the conference with Georgia Southern (24-25, 12-12), one game behind South Alabama (31-18, 13-12) for fourth and one ahead of ULM (29-23, 11-13) in seventh.
The top four finishers in the Sun Belt earn a bye, automatically moving them into the double elimination portion of the tournament. Seeds five through eight play each other on Day 1 in the single elimination portion of the championship.
UTA and Texas State have a long standing rivalry, dating back to 1985, with the Mavericks owning the overall series advantage 59-57. Texas State has claimed nine of the last 10 meetings, with the last Maverick win came on April 13, 2014.
The Bobcats are led by the Sun Belt's Preseason Pitcher of the Year Randi Rupp. The junior has earned big wins over then No. 12 Baylor, No. 17 Louisiana and two wins over Texas.
The three-game slate with Texas State marks the last home games for six seniors. Shelbi Sikes, Mallory Foster, Kacey Everett, Marisa Datko, Sam Montes and Calin Sims will all be honored following the 1 p.m. game with the Bobcats on Saturday.
Sikes has appeared in 193 games for UTA. The Crandall, Texas native holds the single-season RBI record with 45 in her junior campaign. She is on UTA's all-time top-10 list for doubles, RBI and walks.
Foster has appeared in more than 150 games for UTA. The Burleson, Texas native was UTA's first-ever Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I Player of the Week after a 14 RBI, three home run (two coming in the same inning) performance at Appalachian State in 2015.
Everett has been a mainstay behind the plate over the last four years, starting more than 200 games as a Maverick. The Lake Elsinore, Calif. native has powered 11 home runs in her career, knocked more than 125 hits and accounted for 77 RBI. She currently leads the Sun Belt with runners caught stealing with 20 after leading the same category in her freshman campaign with 17.
Montes has made 70 appearances as a Maverick with 52 starts. She has posted 23 wins and struck out more than 115 in 275 innings pitched. The Burleson, Texas native was a two-time Sun Belt Pitcher of the Week and tossed a no-hitter during her sophomore campaign against Central Arkansas.
Datko has played in 85 games for UTA. Datko is three-time selection to the NFCA All-American Scholar Athlete list and a member of the Sun Belt Commissioner's list. Datko, a native of San Diego, Calif. has been a spark in pinch-hitting situations, providing big hits during her senior season.
Sims, a native of Colleyville, Texas joined UTA for the 2016 season after transferring form Florida State College at Jacksonville, where she finished sixth in the state tournament in 2015. Sims starts at Grapevine High School, where she was two-time offensive player of the year.
Following the series with Texas State, the Mavericks will head to Troy, Ala. for the Sun Belt Championships beginning May 10. Seedings and game times will be determined after this weekend's Sun Belt series.
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