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BASEBALL TEAM WINS TITLE. UT Arlington won its fourth Southland Conference baseball title in the spring, advancing through the loser’s bracket to defeat Northwestern State, 8-2, in the tournament championship game. Sophomore Ryan Riddle was named tournament MVP, pitching 10 2/3 innings of shutout relief while earning a win and a save. The Mavericks advanced to the NCAA Regional Tournament in Austin but were eliminated in the first round. UT Arlington won conference championships and earned NCAA berths in 1990, 1992 and 2001.

CONNAUGHTON NAMED OUTSTANDING TRACK ATHLETE. The conference’s head coaches named Jared Connaughton the 2006 Southland Conference Athlete of the Year for men’s track. The junior from Canada won both the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the SLC meet held at UT Arlington in May. He also ran with the 400-meter relay team that placed second. Senior Jon McDowell won the 110-meter hurdles to help the men’s team finish third. Connaughton went on to place third in the 200 at the NCAA Regional at Austin and advance to the NCAA Championships in Sacramento, Calif., in June. Senior pole vaulter Shay Collett also qualified for the NCAA meet.

BENITEZ TAKES TENNIS REINS. Diego Benitez, assistant tennis coach at UT Arlington the past three years, was named head coach for the men’s and women’s teams in May. After Christian Wassmer stepped down, Benitez took over at midseason and guided the men’s team to the SLC championship. He coached at Texas Christian University and Texas Wesleyan University before coming to UT Arlington.

MAJOR LEAGUES CALL EX-MAVS. Two former baseball players reached the major leagues in July. The Seattle Mariners called up pitcher Mark Lowe, and the Toronto Blue Jays promoted second baseman Ryan Roberts, who homered in his first game, at Yankee Stadium. They joined two other Mavericks in the majors last season: pitcher John Lackey of the Los Angeles Angels and outfielder Daniel Ortmeier of the San Francisco Giants.

BASKETBALLERS SIGN PRO CONTRACTS. Former basketball players Jarrett Howell and Steven Thomas signed contracts to play in Europe for the coming season. Howell will play for a team in Poland, while Thomas will play in the Iceland Express League. Former Mavericks Derrick Obasohan and Donnie Beacham have played overseas the past two seasons.

MAVERICK NOTES. Tennis standout Anete Rozkalne was awarded the SLC’s F.L. McDonald Postgraduate Scholarship in May. She compiled a 3.97 GPA as a pre-med biology major. Rozkalne is researching Alzheimer’s disease at Harvard Medical School this fall. … Sophomore Zack Reeves was named SLC Student-Athlete of the Year in men’s golf. He is a two-time all-SLC academic selection and was a first team all-SLC pick after tying for fourth in the conference tournament in April. … Freshman Klara Jagosova advanced to the second round of the NCAA women’s tennis championships in May. … Junior designated player Courtni Anderson was named to the all-SLC softball first team. … Senior sprinter Ellen Garrison anchored the women’s 400-meter relay team to a first-place finish in the SLC meet in May. In the NCAA Regional at Austin, Kourtnee Jones finished seventh in the 100 meters. … Sixty-eight UT Arlington student-athletes were named to the SLC spring honor roll for maintaining at least a 3.0 GPA. … Hunter Pence participated in the Major League Baseball All-Star Futures Game in July in Pittsburgh. Pence, who played last season for the Houston Astros’ Double A team in Corpus Christi, had an RBI single. … Adam Moore was selected in the sixth round by the San Diego Padres in the June baseball draft. The catcher was named SLC Newcomer of the Year after batting .357 with 10 home runs and 46 runs batted in last season. … Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and the University of Central Arkansas have joined the Southland Conference, while the University of Louisiana-Monroe dropped its membership. The conference has 12 schools divided into east and west divisions.

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