UTA softball seeks offensive improvement in 2014

Posted Tuesday, Feb. 04, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
A

2014 UTA softball schedule

Friday-Sunday: Red Desert Classic, St. George, Utah

vs. Weber St., Idaho St., BYU, Utah St., Utah Valley

Feb. 14-16: UTA Maverick Invitational, Allan Saxe Field

vs. South Dakota St., Missouri St., Central Michigan

Feb. 20-23: UTA Hilton Invitational, Allan Saxe Field

vs. Texas Tech, Creighton, UMKC, Illinois

Feb. 28-March 2: Wildcat Invitational, Tucson, Ariz.

vs. Longwood, Indiana, Arizona, Iowa, Valparaiso

March 7-9: Jeannine McHaney Memorial Classic, Lubbock

vs. NMSU, Northern Colorado, Abilene Christian, Texas Tech

March 14-16: San Diego Classic, San Diego

vs. Long Beach St., San Diego St., Harvard

March 22-23: at South Alabama, Mobile, Ala.

March 29-30: vs. Western Kentucky, Allan Saxe Field

April 5-6: at Georgia St., Atlanta

April 9: at Abilene Christian, Abilene

April 12-13: vs. Troy, Allan Saxe Field

April 16: at North Texas, Denton

April 18-19: vs. La.-Monroe, Allan Saxe Field

April 23: vs. Abilene Christian, Allan Saxe Field

April 26-27: vs. La.-Lafayette, Allan Saxe Field

May 3-4: at Texas St., San Marcos

May 7-10: Sun Belt Softball Championship, Lafayette, La.

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

Change doesn’t happen overnight — or over the course of one season — as the UT Arlington softball program found out last year.

When one of the most prolific assistants in college softball landed at UTA before last season, the common thought was that the Mavericks would be able to hit — and hit often.

After all, coach Kristie Fox knows a thing or two about hitting.

The former All-American helped Arizona win back-to-back national championships in 2006 and 2007. Four years later, she turned Texas Tech into one of the most potent offenses in college softball and helped them shatter school records as an assistant coach.

But UTA didn’t light up the scoreboard as expected. They scored 2.5 runs per game and were outscored by 22 runs over the course of the season. They went 25-28 and saw their season end in the conference tournament.

Much of that could be chalked up to inexperience, seeing as four first-year players saw a significant number of at-bats. But Fox had a different explanation.

“We focused on mechanics across the board last year,” Fox said. “They never learned my hitting style before, so we had to make a lot of adjustments.

“This year, it’s all about the mental side of hitting”

Fox expressed confidence that UTA will be able to score more runs this season, but countered with the need to be a defensive team that doesn’t need to pile up runs to win games.

She has the tools in place to put that together, beginning with her two preseason all-conference players Nina Villanueva and Britnea Barilli.

“We know people don’t expect us to be the best team, but that’s good for us,” Villanueva said. “It’s more fun when you go and beat teams you don’t expect to beat.”

The Mavericks don’t expect to go blow-to-blow with the top teams on their schedule. Instead, they fancy themselves as an underdog that hangs around and makes a big play to win.

“We consider ourselves ankle-biters,” Fox said. “We’ll get you somehow.”

Along with the baseball team, they’ll be moving into their own clubhouse right next to the field in 2015. Until then, UTA has decided to open up games to the public free of charge.

On top of that, the Mavericks will mill around the field 20 minutes after each game to sign autographs and give fans a chance to meet the players.

“We want young players to come out and meet our team,” Fox said. “A lot of girls want to play Division I softball, so who better to learn from than girls doing that right now.”

Fox didn’t take on this program expecting change overnight, but it was evident there’s a tangible impact being felt by her players.

It remains to be seen if that impact will translate into championships, but there’s progress being made by a coach who’s been there before.

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?





Tuesday, October 21Full Scoreboard
San Francisco3Bottom 3rd | Box
Kansas City0@theBallpark | TV: FOX
110th World Series, Game One.
Full Scoreboard
Tuesday, October 21Full Scoreboard
Houston523rd Qtr | Box
Miami41TV: TNT, CSN-HOU
Indiana373rd Qtr | Box
Minnesota52
Utah583rd Qtr | Box
Oklahoma City50
Portland111st Qtr 8:10 | Box
Denver8
Phoenix 10/21 10:00 PM ET
LA Lakers TV: TWC SN, D
LA Clippers 10/21 10:30 PM ET
Golden State TV: TNT
Full Scoreboard
Week 8Full Scoreboard
Thursday
San Diego 8:25 PM ET
Denver TV: CBS/NFL Network
Sunday
Detroit 9:30 AM ET
Atlanta TV: FOX
Seattle 1:00 PM ET
Carolina TV: CBS
Baltimore 1:00 PM ET
Cincinnati TV: CBS
Miami 1:00 PM ET
Jacksonville TV: CBS
St. Louis 1:00 PM ET
Kansas City TV: FOX
Chicago 1:00 PM ET
New England TV: FOX
Buffalo 1:00 PM ET
NY Jets TV: CBS
Minnesota 1:00 PM ET
Tampa Bay TV: FOX
Houston 1:00 PM ET
Tennessee TV: CBS
Philadelphia 4:05 PM ET
Arizona TV: FOX
Oakland 4:25 PM ET
Cleveland TV: CBS
Indianapolis 4:25 PM ET
Pittsburgh TV: CBS
Green Bay 8:30 PM ET
New Orleans TV: NBC
Monday
Washington 8:30 PM ET
Dallas TV: ESPN
Full Scoreboard
Tuesday, October 21Full Scoreboard
San Jose33rd Prd 10:44 | Box
Boston3TV: TVA Sports, CSN-CA, NESN
NY Rangers23rd Prd 6:17 | Box
New Jersey3TV: MSG, MSG+
Toronto53rd Prd 10:42 | Box
NY Islanders2TV: TSN4, MSG+2
Detroit13rd Prd | Box
Montreal0TV: FSN-DET, RDS
Arizona12nd Prd 10:28 | Box
Nashville2TV: FSN-AZ, FSN-TN
Carolina12nd Prd 13:27 | Box
Winnipeg2TV: FSN-CAR, TSN3
Philadelphia01st Prd 3:28 | Box
Chicago3TV: NBCSN, CSN-PHI, CSN-CH
Vancouver02nd Prd | Box
Dallas3TV: SN-PAC, FSN-SW
Florida11st Prd 13:21 | Box
Colorado0TV: FSN-FL, Altitude
Tampa Bay01st Prd 14:31 | Box
Calgary0TV: SUN, SN-W
Full Scoreboard