“We are excited to announce our 2017 schedule,” Thomas said. “As always, we try to find great opportunities to challenge out student-athletes in non-league play and put them in a position for success in conference action. Our mix of talented midweek opponents and the 30-game grind of the Sun Belt Conference has created a strong, challenging schedule. We are looking forward to playing in front of our fans at Clay Gould Ballpark this spring.”
The season will open on Friday, Feb. 17 in a four-game tournament at Stephen F. Austin. UTA will face Southeast Missouri in the opener at 2:30 p.m. CT. The Mavs will then face their first doubleheader challenge of the season with SFA on Saturday at 11 a.m., before the nightcap on Saturday vs. SEMO at 2:30 p.m. The weekend will conclude vs. SFA on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. in Nacogdoches, Texas.
UT Arlington will face several midweek challenges, including the home opener on Feb. 21 vs. TCU at 6:30 p.m. at Clay Gould Ballpark. The Mavs will then host TCU on April 4, before concluding the midweek, three-game series at TCU on May 16.
The Mavericks will play their annual game at Globe Life Ballpark in Arlington, the home of the Texas Rangers, vs. Texas Tech on March 17 at 7 p.m.
UTA will also host midweek games vs. Dallas Baptist (Feb. 28), Abilene Christian (March 15) and Texas A&M (April 18). In road midweek action, UTA will travel to Abilene Christian (March 8), Sam Houston State (March 21), Dallas Baptist (March 28), Oklahoma (April 25), Texas (May 2) and TCU (May 16).
UTA will host its first home weekend of the year vs. Louisiana Tech (Feb. 24-26) at Clay Gould Ballpark, also hosting Milwaukee (March 10-12) and traveling to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (March 3-5) to conclude its preseason, non-conference slate.
In Sun Belt action, UTA hosts Georgia Southern (March 24-26), Troy (March 31-April 2), Little Rock (April 13-15), UL Lafayette (April 28-30) and defending National Champion Coastal Carolina (May 12-14). UTA travels to Georgia State (March 17-19), Appalachian State (April 7-9), UL Monroe (April 21-23), Arkansas State (May 5-7) and Texas State (May 18-20).
The Sun Belt Baseball Championship will be hosted by Georgia Southern in Statesboro, Ga., from May 23-28, with NCAA Tournament selections slated for Monday, May 29. NCAA Regional play begins on June 2, with the College World Series running through June 28.
The Mavericks return seven position starters from their 2016 club that won 30 games and finished 15-15 in Sun Belt action. Senior Brady Cox – a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Catcher of the Year Award in 2016 – has the ability to anchor a club after batting .365 (81-for-22) with 12 doubles, one triple, two homers and 41 RBI. Senior outfielder Quintin Rohrbaugh hit .343 (79-for-230) with 13 doubles, four triples and two homers, driving in 35 runs in his UTA debut season in 2016. Senior Colton Turner (.277 average/.341 on-base percentage/.452 slugging), junior RJ Williams (.266/.374/.360), junior Christian Hollie (.248/.328/.339), sophomore Josh Minjarez (.283/.315/.355) and sophomore Noah Vaughan (.270/.362/.376) give UTA a veteran infield.
On the mound, senior righty Kaden Simmons (9-4, 3.05 ERA in 2016) returns as the club leader in wins (nine), starts (15), complete games (two), innings pitched (103.1) and strikeouts (64). Sophomore righty Dylan Schneider (1-1, 2.70 ERA), junior right-hander Daniel James (0-4, 3.99 ERA) and junior southpaw Brad Vassar (1-2, 4.38 ERA) each worked in double-digit games in 2016.