ARLINGTON, Texas - It was a memorable campaign for UTA softball as the Mavericks raced into the postseason for the first time since 2003, earning an at-large selection to the National Invitational Softball Championship.
Four Mavericks were selected to the Sun Belt All-Conference teams in Sandra Mendoza, Krista Rude, Sam Clakley and Aileen Garcia, all returning for an exciting 2018.
Claiming 32 victories, the best since 2011, UTA was one of the hottest teams in a stacked Sun Belt Conference down the final stretch of the season. The Mavs went into the SBC Championship tournament having won 10 of their last 15 games. Even more impressive, the stretch included 12 games against teams ranked inside the NCAA Top-100 RPI.
The momentum started rolling at Allan Saxe Field against South Alabama, a squad that had UTA's number since the Mavs joined the league in 2014. UTA used back-to-back walk-off home runs off the bats of Reagan Wright and Shelbi Sikes, UTA's first-ever victories over the Jaguars, a team UTA would meet once again during the tournament.
UTA would take its first series sweep since 2014 when it took three over Coastal Carolina the following weekend.
Things continued to click with a victory over the American Conference's second-ranked team Houston in a 4-3 win to get May started. Then, arguably the biggest regular-season series win was against another foe that dominated the home team in recent meetings, Texas State.
There was no fear in UTA's eyes against the Bobcats in the opener. UTA won a 6-0 decision in Game 1, tying the largest victory over Texas State. The win also continued the ascent of Sam Clakely into the record books as she earned her 22nd win of the campaign on the way to 26 for the season - third in program history.
Heading into the postseason with the fifth seed, UTA downed Coastal for a fourth time to eliminate the Chaunticleers in the first round. The Mavs then fell to South Alabama, and all appeared lost in the seventh against Georgia State in an elimination game. However, the most exciting hit of the season came off the bat of Laura Curry as she knocked her first "over-the-fence" homer of her career on two outs with UTA trailing to the Panthers. The Mavs would win in extras. UTA then topped South Alabama in a rematch, but fell just short of reaching the finale in a 1-0 loss to Texas State in the semi-finals.
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