UTA Notes | NISC Central | Watch | Stats
CONWAY, Ark. - For the first time in program history, UT Arlington takes the field in consecutive seasons in the postseason as play begins on Wednesday in the National Invitational Softball Championship against Central Arkansas at 6 p.m. in the Conway Regional.
The Mavericks enter as the No. 2 seed in the four-team region, joined with Texas Tech and Stephen F. Austin, and feature a 27-26 overall record after going 1-2 last week in the tough Sun Belt Conference Championship tournament. The Mavs are 2-4 all-time in postseason play, dropping a pair in last year’s NISC stay in Beaumont, Texas. UTA’s last win in a postseason matchup came in 2003 against Florida.
On the other side of the field, host Central Arkansas comes in with a 28-25 record after finishing fifth in the Southland Conference. UTA and UCA are meeting for the first time since 2015, while the matchup in Conway is the first between the clubs since 2012 in UTA’s last year in the Southland. UTA holds a 13-4 overall record in the all-time series, winning the last two.
On the other side of the bracket, Texas Tech (29-26) faces off against Stephen F. Austin (31-22) in the opening game taking place at 3 p.m. The winner of each game will meet on Thursday at 3 p.m. with a spot in the regional final on the line, while the loser’s meet in an elimination game at 12 p.m. Thursday. UTA met Texas Tech in its home opener, falling 12-5 on Feb. 13. UTA and SFA last met in 2017 with a 6-0 win from the Mavs.
HOW TO WATCH/FOLLOW
Fans can watch via YouTube.com/ucasportsvideo, with Live Stats on Southland.org/live. Fans can follow UTA via Twitter by following the team's account at @UTASoftball for behind the scenes action, as well as updates throughout the weekend.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
UTA was tied for the league high with 4 selections to the SBC All-Conference Team. Reagan Wright and Laura Curry were named to the first, while Sandra Mendoza and Randi Phillips were honored to the second team. Mendoza has three all-conference selections in her career. The 3 others earned their first selection.
With 3 wins, UTA would have 30+ wins in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2006 and 2007… The Mavs have turned 30 double plays (1 shy of team record set in 2017) and are ranked 8th in NCAA DI with 0.57 per game… Going 11 frames vs. GSU, UTA played its 3rd double-digit extra-inning game (going 2-1). UTA is 4-2 in #FreeSoftball games this year.
UTA struggled in the SBC tourney with runners in scoring position, hitting just 4-for-25 (.160) in its three games (hits from Aileen Garcia, Krista Rude, Whitney Walton and Brittany Wyllie). Opponents hit 10-for-29 in the same spot (.345)… A key stat in 2018, UTA is 19-9 when it scores the opening run, but just 8-17 when the opponent crosses first. The Mavs are also 13-4 when they open scoring in the first inning… UTA is 19-0 when it leads after 5 innings, but just 5-22 when trailing… The 5th and 6th innings have been big for the Mavs, scoring their most runs in those two innings (54 in the 5th, 40 in the 6th) this campaign. However, the 5th has also been big against UTA, with a high of 54.
WHAT THE LAST WEEK LOOKED LIKE:
Rated the toughest mid-major conference tournament based on avg. RPI, UTA reached the Final Four for the 2nd consecutive year, but couldn’t get by the pesky Troy Trojans. The Mavs dropped both games to Troy (opener, and semifinal). UTA fell 2-1 in the opener to Troy, won 2-0 in 11 innings vs. Georgia State (eliminating GSU for 2nd straight year), dropped 9-4 decision to Troy in finale. The 16 hits from Troy were a tournament high. Brittany Wyllie had the game-winning triple vs. GSU. Randi Phillips tossed 11 shutout in the win.
Sandra Mendoza earned her first All-Tournament selection of her career.
HEAD COACH Peejay Brun
UTA coach Peejay Brun enters her first season at the helm of the Mavericks. Brun owns a 158-176-2 all-time record as a head coach after two seasons at Hawaii-Hilo and a stint at Sienna.
Brun brings 19 years of collegiate coaching experience to the Mavericks program, including six as a head coach. For nine of the last 11 seasons, she has served as an assistant coach at Texas State University.
A 1994 graduate of the University of Hawai'i, Brun comes to UTA following one season in her second stint as an assistant at Texas State after serving as the head coach at the University of Hawai'i at Hilo for two years. She led UH Hilo to a 63-33-1 overall record, a 41-19-1 record in the PacWest Conference.
Brun developed a NFCA All-America selection, eight all-league honorees and two all-region selections at UH Hilo. Eighteen student-athletes under her direction earned all-PacWest academic honors and six were named NFCA Academic All- America.
FOLLOW THE MAVS SOCIALLY
For up-to-date news, photos, videos and updates you can follow UTA sports program online at UTAMavs.com or via any of several social media accounts on twitter @UTAMavs, Instagram @UTAMavs, Snapchat @UTAMavs and Facebook at UTArlingtonAthletics.
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