After completing a 5-3 road trip, the UT Arlington baseball team was supposed to come home for a couple of midweek games against Oklahoma Christian before jumping back into conference play. Unfortunately, the recent string of rainy weather forced a cancellation of both games.Now CSU Bakersfield comes to town to set up a clash between two of the top teams in the Western Athletic Conference, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Clay Gould Ballpark.The pitching-powered Roadrunners bring three of the top four starters in the conference to Arlington this weekend, giving the Mavericks an uphill battle for all three games. All seniors, the Roadrunners rotation leads a pitching staff that has a 2.49 team ERA, 1.30 runs better than second-place Louisiana Tech.“It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a team with numbers that low,” UT Arlington coach Darin Thomas said. “Runs will be at a premium, so we’ll have to do the little things and get extra bases.”Jeff McKenzie tops the rotation, collecting 45 strikeouts and allowing just seven runs in 54 innings, while Scott Brattvet and Jonathan Montoya round it out. Montoya doesn’t strike many guys out (21) but he’s holding opposing hitters to a .168 average, the best mark in the WAC.The Mavericks rocked the best pitcher in the WAC without a Roadrunners uniform last Friday when they ran Louisiana Tech’s Phil Maton from the game in the sixth inning. Greg McCall blasted a homer to right center that gave Maton six earned runs in 5 1/3 innings, his worst start of the year.“We won’t get overconfident,” Thomas said. “I’ve really liked our attitude over the last few weeks. We lost the first game and came back and won the next five. That’s all you can ask for.”During the conference win streak, UTA has held opponents to just two runs per game. Sunday’s starter Zach Thompson has only given up two runs in his last 13 innings.“He’s gotten some run support, so I think that helps him stay in the strike zone,” Thomas said. “His slider has been really good, too.”This could be the only time these programs face each other for a weekend series. They’ve never met before, and UTA will be heading to the Sun Belt Conference next season.Mylz to goRoadrunners third baseman Mylz Jones is only a freshman, but that doesn’t mean he’s supposed to have an adjustment period. Jones set a school record 20-game hitting streak after collecting a pair of hits in CSUB’s 2-1 loss to Cal State Northridge on Tuesday.He’s still 10 games behind the current hits streak leader, Oklahoma’s Matt Oberste. Jones is hitting .436 during the streak and .550 over his last five games.
UT Arlington vs. CSU Bakersfield
at Clay Gould Ballpark
Records: UTA 15-12, 5-1 WAC; CSUB 19-10, 4-2
Game 1: 6:30 p.m.. Friday, RHP Brad Vachon (3-2, 2.27) vs. LHP Jeff McKenzie (6-1, 1.17)
Game 2: 2 p.m., Saturday, LHP Chase Weaver (2-0, 3.10) vs. RHP Scott Brattvet (5-1, 1.95)
Game 3: 1 p.m. Sunday, RHP Zach Thompson (3-2, 4.86) vs. LHP Jonathan Montoya (3-1, 1.73)