As scattered storms rolled through QuikTrip Park and caused delays throughout the day, the UT Arlington baseball team’s hopes of more postseason baseball washed away with them.
A loose Texas State team outhit and outplayed a nervous Mavericks team that knew its season was on the line and likely ended the Mavericks season with an 11-2 win Saturday night.
The Mavericks were given the opportunity to control their own destiny when Dallas Baptist endured two rain delays to blast New Mexico State 12-4 earlier in the day. That eliminated Texas State and New Mexico State from advancing to the Western Athletic Conference tournament final.
Although the Bobcats knew their season was finished either way, they came out with more fire and energy than the Mavericks, who looked nervous and tight through the first six innings of a game that started an hour and a half later than scheduled.
Starting pitcher Daniel Milliman couldn’t get out of the third inning and the Bobcats silenced the UTA lineup from moving on to face UT-San Antonio at 1 p.m. today. Instead, Dallas Baptist gets that honor.
While this season may have ended earlier than they’d like, the Mavericks should feel good knowing they won’t be losing any of its primary players. Because this season’s team was powered primarily by juniors and underclassmen, the core of the lineup should remain intact for next season.
In fact, Brandon Lawrence and Jake Pinchback are the only regular position players UTA is expected to lose this offseason. That is, unless Matt Shortall gets drafted.
Shortall, a junior this season, anchored the Maverick attack as the No. 3 hitter all season. Although he hit .364 with eight homers, they came primarily as a designated hitter. While some don’t expect the slugger to be drafted because he doesn’t play a true defensive position, his ability to hit may pique the interest of MLB clubs.
The entire UTA infield — J.M. Twichell, Travis Sibley, Darien McLemore and Ryan Walker — should come back with another year of experience under their belts.
UTA will need every bit of help in the move to the Sun Belt Conference, an under-the-radar baseball conference that actually had the fifth-highest conference RPI in the land this season, higher than the Big Ten and the Big East.