Limiting the long ball and leveraging new talent could be pivotal for UTA baseball this week

Senior pitcher Logan Austin throws the ball to the University of Oklahoma during a game Feb. 24 at Globe Life Field in Arlington. 

The baseball team (12-16, 3-3) will play four games over the upcoming week, starting with a three-game weekend series against Coastal Carolina University.

UTA will travel April 13 to face Southland Conference foe Abilene Christian University 6 p.m. at Crutcher Scott Field. It will be the Mavericks’ second and final matchup against the Wildcats this season following their 3-2 win against them March 2.

Here are three keys for the Mavericks to finish the week with a winning record.

1. Limiting the long ball

Coastal Carolina ranks first in the conference in home runs with 30, three more than the next best teams.

The Chanticleers have five players with three or more home runs on the season, led by sophomore infielder Eric Brown with six.

Meanwhile, UTA has given up 21 home runs this season, making them tied for third in the Sun Belt when it comes to keeping the ball inside the park.

For UTA, junior pitcher David Moffat has been the most efficient at limiting home runs. Pitching a team-high 36.2 innings, he has given up one home run on the season.

In order for UTA to have success on the mound, they will need to keep Coastal Carolina’s hits within the fence.

2. Late game hitting

Coastal Carolina has been able to rely on junior pitcher Alaska Abney to close innings. Abney leads the team in saves at five and bolsters a 1.08 ERA through 12 appearances, with 11 of his appearances being scoreless outings.

Fortunately, UTA has been able to finish off close games. The Mavericks boast a 6-1 record in games decided by one run.

In their most recent Sun Belt contest, the Mavericks scored 10 runs in the final three innings to secure a 10-6 win against Texas State.

3. The emergence of Cason Gregory

Freshman infielder Cason Gregory started in the last four games after being in and out of the lineup throughout the season. He is hitting .375 on the season, collecting four runs batted in, three doubles and eight walks.

Gregory was tagged as a player that had potential for early playing time and has proven himself over the past couple weeks.

How Gregory plays will be crucial not only at the plate but on the field. Gregory has two errors and possesses a .943 fielding percentage on the season.

@D_Tineo4

sports-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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