The softball team (14-24, 7-7) will continue their road trip with a pitstop in Stillwater, Oklahoma, to take on Oklahoma State University in a midweek showdown before heading to Conway, South Carolina, to face conference rival Coastal Carolina University on Saturday.
1. Old faces in new places
The name Reagan Wright is a familiar one in the UTA history books. The former Mavericks catcher from 2017 to 2020 is the UTA career leader in several categories, including RBIs in a season and RBIs in a game. Wright transferred to Oklahoma state as a graduate student after her senior year at UTA was canceled due to the pandemic.
Wright’s Oklahoma State career started off slowly. In the 24 games she started, she has collected 10 hits for an average of .167.
Although she’s been a step behind on offense, her defensive play is consistent. Behind the plate, Wright has a fielding percentage of .975 and is helping guide the Oklahoma State pitching staff to a 1.32 earned run average that leads the Big 12 Conference.
2. Fifth ranked offense vs sixth ranked pitching
The Chanticleers pitching staff is ranked ninth in the Sun Belt Conference, allowing an average of 4.88 runs per game. What they lack in pitching is made up on the offensive side of the ball. Coastal Carolina ranks fifth in the conference with a team batting average of .281 and fourth in the conference with 32 home runs.
UTA’s pitching staff will be in for a tough matchup against the Chanticleers, whose offense scores an average of 4.84 runs per game. The Mavericks rank sixth in the Sun Belt, allowing 4.29 per game — lower than Coastal Carolina — but also allowing four walks per game. Keeping runners off the bags will benefit UTA against a Coastal Carolina offense that can hit consistently.
One advantage the Mavericks could have over Coastal Carolina is their success in conference play. UTA currently sits at 7-7 in conference play compared to Coastal Carolina at 4-11.
3. Other bats need to heat up
Senior infielder KJ Murphy is having a career year with the Mavericks, leading the team in categories such as batting average, hits, doubles, RBIs and walks. Murphy is tied for first in home runs with five on the year.
Freshman infielder Jessica Carreon is the only other player that has appeared in 75% of the games this season with a batting average above .300. She is currently hitting .333 on the season.
The problem is that as a team, the Mavericks batting average is sitting at .256.
Players like sophomore outfielder Jadyn Erickson can help take the pressure off Murphy and Carreon. Erickson is just shy of the .300 plateau, missing the mark with a .299 batting average. A couple of hits this week will push her over the .300 mark.
The Mavericks will be back in action against Oklahoma State University at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Cowgirl Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma.