Walkoff wins can be huge when it comes to defining a season.Just days after losing four of its past five games against TCU and Seattle University, the UT Arlington baseball team found itself giving up another lead Wednesday after letting Arkansas-Little Rock score four runs to tie the game in the eighth inning.But with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Travis Sibley lined a single into left field that gave UTA a much-needed midweek win and a sense of resilience heading into this weekend’s series with New Mexico State in Las Cruces. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. Friday.As the Mavericks jockey for position heading into the final month of the season, every bit of momentum counts for a team looking to keep pace with CS Bakersfield, the Western Athletic Conference’s top team, sitting one game ahead of UTA.While midweek games don’t count when it comes to winning the WAC, they’re still a good barometer of a team’s pitching depth.Spot starter Keegan Hucul pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings against UALR, which beat UTA 12-2 earlier this season, to help halt the Mavericks’ recent slide.That depth is going to be tested for what is shaping up to be the Mavericks’ biggest challenge this season — keeping the ball in the ballpark.The Aggies have one of the most extreme home/road splits in all of college baseball. They are scoring 10.2 runs per game in 23 games at home. Part of that gets inflated from a four-game series with Alabama A&M where they scored 79 runs in one weekend. Take that weekend away and NMSU still averages eight runs a game.On the road, however, NMSU is only scoring 3.2 runs per game. That number was lower before last weekend’s sweep of Louisiana Tech where the Aggies scored 25 runs in four games.It’s just tough luck that UTA happened to get them in Las Cruces this year.The Aggies are powered by Tanner Rust, who leads the WAC with a .408 batting average and has seven homers and 39 RBIs. He also gets on base at a .500 clip.
New Mexico State
Presley Askew Baseball Field, Las Cruces, N.M.
Game 1: 7 tonight, UTA RHP Brad Vachon (4-3, 2.91) vs. RHP Adam Mott (5-3, 4.19)
Game 2: 7 p.m. Saturday, RHP Zach Thompson (5-2, 4.39) vs. RHP Casey Collins (4-4, 5.91)
Game 3: 2 p.m. Sunday, LHP Chase Weaver (2-1, 3.96) vs. LHP Ryan Beck (5-3, 6.33)