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Batter Up

Baseball Fever

Birds are singing, flowers are blooming, and the lights are bright at Clay Gould Ballpark

Mavericks pitcher Kadon Simmons, a senior, finished the 2016 season 9-4 with a 3.05 ERA.

Baseball in Texas is big business. That's no different for UTA, which will wind down its fourth season in the rugged Sun Belt Conference this spring.

The Mavericks have built a strong program, with a club that has appeared in six NCAA tournaments, won six conference regular-season titles, and had five players earn All-America honors.

In his 10th season at the helm, head coach Darin Thomas boasts a veteran roster that includes standout seniors Kadon Simmons and Brady Cox. Simmons, UTA's Friday-night starter, led the Sun Belt in wins in his first season at UTA in 2016. Behind the plate, UTA is boosted by Cox, who was tabbed as a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award, given annually to the nation's best catcher.

One of UTA's great challenges each season is the competitive schedule, courtesy of the talent in Texas. In 2017, UTA faced 11 games against top-20 foes in the preseason, including three games against the nation's unanimous preseason No. 1, TCU. In previous seasons, the Mavs have earned 32 victories over top-10 opponents, including No. 7 Oklahoma State and No. 5 TCU in 2016.

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