UT Arlington baseball hits road for final conference weekend series

05/01/2014 8:47 PM

05/01/2014 11:15 PM

UT Arlington baseball coach Darin Thomas had too much going on to realize that Tuesday’s 11-3 win over Texas Wesleyan was his 200th career win.

He didn’t realize he reached the milestone until the Clay Gould Ballpark PA announcer informed everyone after the final out. Even then, Thomas said he’s never been one to think about these things.

“Between recruiting, finals and conference games, I haven’t had any time to look at that stuff,” he said. “But I know I would much rather be at around 240 wins at this point.”

With his team heading into the final road conference weekend of the season against UALR, Thomas is focused on making the last 10 regular season games count.

It isn’t typical of teams to play good baseball on the road, but like last season, the Mavericks are getting big weekend wins away from home.

“It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but I’d rather be pretty good on the road and have room to improve at home than the other way around,” Thomas said. “Conference tournaments are played on the road, so I’m happy to know we play well on the road.”

UTA is 10-9 on the road for the season, but three of those losses came during a Texas State sweep to open Sun Belt play. Since that weekend, the Mavericks are 17-10 and 8-4 on the road.

They’ll catch a hot UALR team that’s also been on the road to recovery since a dreadful 1-8 start to conference play.

Having won three of their last four, Tanner Rockwell (.310, 6 HRs, 31 RBIs) and the last-place Trojans are only two games out of the final playoff spot.

It’ll be up to UTA’s reconfigured rotation to hold off the Trojans’ charge. Daniel Milliman will get the start on Friday, while Brad Vachon and Zach Thompson slide back to Saturday and Sunday.

It hasn’t mattered who starts for the Mavericks this season — they just need to outscore the other teams. And recently they’ve done that, scoring 7.1 runs per game during the 17-10 stretch.

“We don’t need [our starters] to be perfect,” Thomas said. “We just need them to get us six [innings].”

If the Mavericks are able to sweep UALR this weekend, they would move above .500 for the first time this season. But a sweep at the hands of the Trojans would send UTA falling backwards into the Sun Belt mix that sits just a few games behind.

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