Saturday, April 23, 2016

Same Song, Different Verse Again

A promising start to the baseball season is quickly souring. Odd to think that as April is ending, the UT Arlington Mavericks have a better record against opponents from the Big 12 than the Sun Belt Conference, and it isn't even close.

In my previous post, I detailed how the Mavs had lost numerous games to either one bad inning on the mound or an offense that garnered hits but not runs. Yesterday's loss to Troy in the start of a three-game series followed the same pattern that I detailed. In fact they had both.

The Trojans scored three runs on a three-RBI, inside-the-park home run. The go-ahead RBI came on a two-out hit. Once again, one pitch is the difference here.

UTA actually outhit Troy 11-8, but lost 5-2. They left 11 men on base, of which five were in scoring position when the last out was recorded. Again, one hit can make the difference here.

I ended the last post with something that surely applies in this game too.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Same Song, Different Verse

I don't know how to start this post, (this sentence is the third one I've typed trying to open this post, so hopefully it will be the keeper) so I'll start with the facts of the 2016 UT Arlington baseball season.

I'll begin with the statistical rankings. UTA is currently second in the SBC in team batting average at .295. They have been number one a good portion of the year. There team ERA is sixth, exactly in the middle of the SBC at 4.05. In theory a good offense and decent pitching should have a better showing in the standings, but UTA is in a tie for seventh, with the team they are tied with having the tiebreaker.

The offense is in the top half of every statistical category except home runs (dead last), walks, hit by pitch and sac bunts. They are at least fifth or better in the other 17 categories the Sun Belt Conference keeps. The pitching is not as good in terms of depth, as Joel Kuhnel, Kadon Simmons and Jacob Moreland have really brought the ERA down. They are literally middle of the pack in everything with the biggest outlier being they don't get many strikeouts, nor walk many batters.

UTA is 20-17 overall and 6-9 in the Sun Belt Conference. In something of a repeating pattern of the past few years, UTA is beating the top teams with wins over TCU (RPI #28), Oklahoma State (RPI #41), Baylor (RPI #79) and Louisiana Tech (RPI #90). They are also having some real head-scratchers.  UTA has won only two SBC series at this point and lost three, with one being a sweep. Two of those losses are to teams UTA should have beat at home, ULM and Georgia Southern.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

End of the Road

What a season it was. I know it has been a while since the mens basketball season ended on March 24th to now. Apologies for that as I felt a bit withdrawn after the NJIT loss, a school that I believe UT Arlington would beat five more times if they played five games. More than anything, it was the big lead that turned into a loss that had me in retreat.

But make no mistake, the season was a resounding success. For the first time I can remember, UTA had a great season, but it is a foundational one as well, giving optimism to next season. The future is brighter than ever.

The Mavs tied a program high for wins in a year with 24. The last time that was accomplished was in 2011/12 when the Mavericks claimed their first outright Southland Conference championship in their last year in the conference they founded almost 50 years earlier. Their 13 wins in conference play was the most since that 11/12 season too.