SB: Mavs head to Sun Belt Conference Championship

Kristie Fox and the Mavericks are the No. 8 seed in the SBC Championship.

May 6, 2014

LAFAYETTE, Louisiana – UT Arlington softball opens Sun Belt Conference Championship play Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. against Texas State at Lamson Park.

"Everyone goes into the championship with a clean slate and we're definitely going to use that to our advantage," UT Arlington coach Kristie Fox said. "The seeding didn't go the way we wanted, but if we go out there and play our game we have an opportunity." 

UT Arlington heads to the Sun Belt Championship with a 20-32 overall record and 4-16 mark in league play. The Mavericks face a familiar foe in the first round as No. 8 UTA takes on in-state rival No. 5 Texas State.

UTA and Texas State have had a rivalry that has spanned three conferences in as many seasons. The longtime Southland Conference foes were in the WAC last season before moving  to the Sun Belt. UTA ended the regular season at Texas State, losing all three games. 

2014 Sun Belt Conference Softball Championship

Wednesday, May 7, 2014
G1          No. 6 UL Monroe vs. No. 7 Troy (10:00 AM)
G2          No. 5 Texas State vs. No. 8 UT Arlington (12:30 PM)
G3          Winner G1 vs. No. 3 Georgia State (3:00 PM)
G4          Winner G2 vs. No. 4 WKU (5:30 PM)
Thursday, May 8, 2014
G5          Winner G3 vs. No. 2 South Alabama (2:00 PM)
G6          Winner G4 vs. No. 1 UL Lafayette (5:00 PM)
Friday, May 9, 2014
G7          Loser G5 vs. Loser G6 (11:00 AM)
G8          Winner G5 vs. Winner G6 (2:00 PM)
G9          Loser G8 vs. Winner G7 (5:00 PM)
Saturday, May 10, 2014
Championship Game
G10        Winner G8 vs. Winner G9 (3:00 PM)

The seeding for the 2014 Sun Belt Conference Softball Championship came down to the last weekend of conference play before being finalized. No. 13/14-ranked UL Lafayette clinched the top seed and No. 21 South Alabama earned the No. 2 seed, but Georgia State and WKU were tied in the standings entering the weekend. The Panthers took two of three to claim the No. 3 seed. Texas State used a series sweep of UT Arlington to take the fifth seed and send the Mavericks to the No. 8 seed. UL Monroe earned the No. 6 seed despite dropping three games last weekend and Troy slid into the No. 7 seed.

Under coach Kristie Fox, UTA is 1-2 in the conference tournament. UTA was 1-2 in the 2013 WAC Tournament with a win over UTSA. The Mavs fell to LA Tech in the opening round before a season-closing loss to Texas State 5-1. UTA’s only conference tournament championship came in 2003 as a part of the Southland Conference. Since 2003, UTA has a conference tournament record of 9-16 & have reached two championship games (2006/2010). 

Live stats and stream are available live on Twitter updates are available through @UTAMavs.

The Bobcats are 26-29 overall and 9-12 in Sun Belt action after a weekend sweep over the Mavericks. Senior Coralee Ramirez is batting .319 and junior Courtney Harris is at .314. Senior Ryan House is leading the Bobcat pitching staff with a 2.53 ERA and a 22-18 record.

Junior Nina Villanueva is batting .344 to lead the Mavericks, with 53 hits and 37 RBI on the season. Villanueva is hitting .442 with 23 hits in Sun Belt action. Fellow junior Meagan Michele is batting .220 in league play.

ROADIES:  The Mavericks have struggled on the road this season with a 3-12 overall away record and have one Sun Belt road win. The team is hitting .213 compared to opponents' .280. 

The Mavericks are 14-5 when leading after the fourth inning. The team is a perfect 8-0 when scoring six or more runs and 15-1 when out-hitting its opponent. 

Nina Villanueva (8), Meagan Michele (5), Jolene Schaefer (3), Britnea Barilli (3), Rebecca Stokes (2), Shelbi Sikes (2), Marisa Datko (2), Jasmine Tanksley (1), Kacey Everett (2), Holly Murphree (1), Riley Fira (1).

Senior pitcher Callie Collins earned UT Arlington's first Sun Belt Conference softball accolades by being named the SBC Pitcher of the Week on Feb. 24. 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. She also received the honor on April 14 after she went 2-0 pitching two complete games. She gave up just one run off of four hits, while striking out 11 batters in 13 innings. The one run came in a 2-1 Maverick victory over Troy. Collins helped her team shutout Abilene Christian in a mid-week game allowing no runs with four strikeouts.

UT Arlington is in 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.

The Mavericks softball team is in its third conference in as many years with the move to the Sun Belt. UTA moved from the Southland Conference in 2012 to the Western Athletic Conference in 2013.




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