Oct. 9, 2003

ARLINGTON, Texas...Coming off a record setting season The University of Texas at Arlington Lady Maverick softball squad is preparing for a new year. In 2003 the Lady Mavs won the Southland Conference regular and postseason championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. The team established a new school record for wins in a season when it posted a 41-17 record which included two wins in the NCAA Tournament. The Lady Mavericks success was thanks in part to a group of freshman who stepped up in their collegiate debut.

The defending champions return 10 letterwinners and six starters for the upcoming season. Included in that group is all-conference pitcher Jill Garro. Garro finished 2003 with the third best ERA in the league (1.83) and will take over the majority of the pitching duties this season.

"I'm really excited about taking over. It is going to be a challenge - a great opportunity for me," she said. "I am confident but not over confident."

Sophomore Falon Kwasnick will also join the rotation this season. Kwasnick, an all-conference first baseman in 2003, earned a save in her only appearance in the circle last season. Freshman Lauren Hebert will also see time as UTA strives to defend its title.

After batting .311 and leading the squad with 14 doubles a season ago, Kwasnick is continuing to swing a powerful bat, hitting .500 this fall. Sophomores Jenna Fortune and Autumn Petrino also continue to be threats at the plate, batting .444 and .474 respectively. Freshman Dee Jay Nelson, who could see time at third base and designated player, has connected for nine hits in 20 at-bats for a .450 fall average.

Also returning for the Lady Mavs is all-conference outfielder/designated player Beverly Rowan. Rowan finished her inaugural campaign with a .306 average, including 12 doubles, two triples, three homeruns and 33 RBI.

Texas-Arlington has won all of its eight games this fall, and looks forward to the spring season. The Lady Mavs' will kick off the 2004 season in Austin at The University of Texas at Austin tournament on February 6. UTA will face host Texas, Houston and Sam Houston State in the two-day event. The Lady Mavs will also participate in tournaments at Texas-San Antonio and North Texas, facing teams such as Oklahoma State, Wichita State and Kansas in order to prepare for the league season. The Lady Mav's will open the home season with a single game against Baylor on Tuesday, February 10 at Allan Saxe Field before beginning Southland Conference action on February 24.




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