For the first time this season, UT Arlington is on a win streak.
Coming off a pair of midweek wins over No. 16 Sam Houston State and Columbia, the Mavericks look to extend that and win their first Sun Belt Conference game when they host Arkansas State this weekend at Clay Gould Ballpark.
The two wins were a much-needed elixir for last weekend’s sweep at Texas State. The Mavericks failed to close out the Bobcats on two occasions, letting two late leads turn into conference losses.
“We can’t make it more important than it is,” coach Darin Thomas said. “We’ve got 27 more conference games to play.”
They’ll turn their attention to Arkansas State, which started its conference with a sweep of UALR last weekend. With only one true home run threat, the Red Wolves rely on timely hitting and base-running acumen. In last weekend’s sweep, only three of the team’s 27 hits went for extra bases.
They’ve used 19 sacrifice bunts to get runners around the bases and succeeded on 33 of 37 stolen base attempts. That could mean a busy weekend for UTA catcher Greg McCall, who’s thrown out 37.9 percent of steal attempts against him this season. His 11 runners thrown out are the best in the Sun Belt.
McCall has been one of UTA’s bright spots this season as All American Matt Shortall’s protection in the cleanup spot. While he hasn’t been one to hit for average, his four homers and 19 RBIs lead the team. His bases-loaded double on Tuesday was one of the biggest hits of UTA’s season.
“We’ve been getting guys on base. We’re just not getting that big hit,” Thomas said. “That double was a big thing for us.”
In both of the Mavericks ‘wins this week, they were able to take a lead into the eighth inning.
That’s important for this team considering it is 0-11 when trailing after seven frames.