UTA Magazine
Baseball players snag big honors, go high in professional draft

Hunter Pence
Hunter Pence
Pro contracts, All-America recognition and school and NCAA records kept UTA baseball players in the headlines after their 2004 season ended last spring.

Although the Mavericks just missed an NCAA Tournament berth for the second straight year, individual accomplishments abounded.

Mark Lowe
Mark Lowe
Outfielder Hunter Pence became the highest-drafted UTA player ever when the Houston Astros selected him in the second round of the Major League Baseball draft in June.

The Seattle Mariners chose pitcher Mark Lowe in the fifth round, and pitcher Mike Snapp signed a free agent contract with the Boston Red Sox.

“It’s great to see those guys get an opportunity like that,” said UTA head baseball coach Jeff Curtis. “Players who want to play professionally see that and they want to come here, too, so it definitely helps our program.”

Mike Snapp
Mike Snapp
In the records department, designated hitter Darrell Preston capped his four-year career by becoming the school’s all-time leader in runs batted in (164), hits (268), games played (230) and at-bats (856). The 856 at-bats are also a Southland Conference record.

Darrell Preston
Darrell Preston
Snapp ended his career with 131 appearances and 23 saves, both school and conference records. His 131 appearances rank fourth all time on the NCAA list, as do his 126 relief appearances. His 23rd save, which broke the league record, came in the SLC Tournament opening-round victory over Texas State.

UTA also set a school record for single-game attendance, drawing 1,388 fans April 20 against Texas A&M. The Mavericks rallied with three runs in the bottom of the ninth to defeat the No. 17 Aggies.

Michael Gardner
Michael Gardner
Snapp and pitcher Michael Gardner both earned All-America honors. The National College Baseball Writers Association put Snapp on the third team, while he and Gardner received honorable mention on the CollegeBaseballInsider.com team.

Snapp, Gardner and Pence were named to the first unit of the All-South Central Region team selected by the American Baseball Coaches Association.

Pence was selected Player of the Year in the Southland Conference, and the finance major made the SLC All-Academic team with a 3.25 grade point average.

Gardner and Preston joined Pence on the All-Southland Conference first team, while Snapp was chosen to the second team and outfielder Kasey Baker to the third team.

— Jim Patterson

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