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 Series Thread - @ UTA 
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Post Series Thread - @ UTA
The final 3 games of the regular season are here as the Bobcats travel to Arlington to face SBC rival UTA in a 3-game Thursday-Saturday series.

Believe it or not, going into the final series of the regular season, TXST is still in the hunt for a SBC West Division Championship. While we won vs. Louisiana on Saturday and Sunday the rest of the west division was facing east division teams and got collectively trounced (1st place Louisiana in the west would be in 5th place in the east). The Bobcats made up 2 games on the entire field in the west over those two days to put themselves back in the hunt.

Going into this series the Bobcats are in 3rd place in the west. Louisiana still leads and is 2 games ahead of the Bobcats, but the Bobcats hold the tiebreaker thanks to winning the series last weekend. So there are two scenarios in which TXST can pass Louisiana:
A. Sweep UTA while Louisiana loses 2 or more to ULM,
B. Win 2 of 3 vs. UTA while Louisiana gets swept by ULM
Unfortunately Louisiana has a current 22 game winning streak over ULM going, but ULM is a much better team than they've been in the past this year while Louisiana has taken a step back.

Little Rock is also 1/2 game ahead of TXST in the standings. The Bobcats simply need to win more games this weekend than Little Rock does against Arkansas State to pass the Trojans in the standings.

If magic strikes and the Bobcats somehow are able to win the west over this final weekend they'd be the #2 seed in the conference tournament (despite multiple teams in the east having better records). That seeding could be huge towards giving TXST a shot at winning the tournament, as that's the only way TXST could make a regional.

Assuming the Cajuns don't comply or the Bobcats don't win enough games this weekend to take the west, it's still a big weekend. TXST would presently be the #7 seed if the tournament started today. Seeds 1-6 get a bye into the double elimination portion of the bracket, seeds 7-10 play in the single elimination play-in round, and seeds 11 and 12 aren't invited. The Bobcats really need to play well enough this weekend to at least move into the top 6 and get themselves out of the play-in round. It's no secret that we don't have the deepest rotation in the conference. Not having to play in the play-in round would prevent us from having to burn Fraze or Reich in that round and give us a much better shot at making a run in the tournament. Not to mention if you lose that game you're done. Our odds of winning as a 7-10 seed are significantly lower than as a 2-6 seed. Little Rock is the team to pass as they're the current 6 seed. We just need to win more games this weekend over UTA than they do over Arkansas State to pass them.

Schedule/Probable Pitching Matchup
Thursday - 6:30pm
RHP Nicholas Fraze (5-4, 3.38 ERA) vs. LHP Brad Vassar (2-6, 4.75 ERA)
Friday - 6:30 pm
RHP Connor Reich (5-3, 3.72 ERA) vs. RHP Ka'ikepono Anderson (0-4, 4.96 ERA)
Saturday - 2pm
TBA vs. TBA

We haven't announced a Saturday starter. My money is on Zach Leigh after the long relief performance he had against Louisiana on Sunday. Brandon Lewis always an option as well.

Looking at the Mavericks
Thursday's starter Vassar has made 10 starts on the year. Through 55 innings pitched he's amassed a 4.75 ERA with 39 strikeouts and 21 walks. Opponents are hitting .264 off the senior. Friday's starter Anderson has thrown 61.2 innings over 12 starts. He's had 44 strikeouts to just 14 walks but allows opponents to hit .294 and has given up a team leading 10 homers on the season. Righty Logan Austin is their most reliable reliever with a 2.58 ERA over 45.1 innings pitched in 23 relief appearances. UTA's team ERA of 4.98 ranks 8th in the Sun Belt. They allow opponents to hit .281 off them, which is 11th in the league.

Lead-off man Zac Cook is their top hitter with a .313 batting average. Cook is an infielder by trade and is usually at 2nd base but has made starts in the outfield throughout the season as well. The speedy Cook leads the team in OBP, stolen bases, and runs scored. 1st baseman Omar Salinas is hitting .301 on the season and was a first-team all Sun Belt DH last year. UTIL Noah Vaughan is the biggest home run threat with 12 on the season. He's slugging .540 with a team best 31 RBI. He's also the biggest strikeout candidate with 70 strikeouts on the season. UTA has the 6th best offense in the league with a .262 team average. Their 40 homers are 4th in the league.


Thu May 17, 2018 11:45 am
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SuperCat

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Post Re: Series Thread - @ UTA
Luke sherley gets another save and the cats win 5-2. Go figure.


Thu May 17, 2018 9:11 pm
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Post Re: Series Thread - @ UTA
Maybe we shoulda had him pitching all along . . . . ..

StAte defeated Little Rock tonight to help the cause.

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Thu May 17, 2018 9:14 pm
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Post Re: Series Thread - @ UTA
But the damn cajuns won in 10 innings...

Cats move up to 6th in the standings and would presently avoid the play-in round if the tournament started after tonight's games.

Only hope to win the division now is to win the next two while Louisiana loses two in a row. Unlikely.

Good win tonight though. Quality start out of Fraze and decent relief from Pagano.


Thu May 17, 2018 9:41 pm
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Post Re: Series Thread - @ UTA
Dang I made a mistake. We were 1.5 games back of Little Rock going into the weekend. After tonight now we are 0.5 games back. As of now we are still the 7 seed. We can now overtake Little Rock with winning more games than them in the remaining two.

Sorry for the mistake. I've been out of the detailed pre-game write-up game on bobcatfans for like 5 months. Rusty return.


Thu May 17, 2018 9:58 pm
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Post Re: Series Thread - @ UTA
The move of Shirley to closer seems to coincide with the emergence of freshman Shuffield. Shuffield moves to SS when Shirley goes into close. Shuffield played very little until late in the season. Shirley was used as closer with only five games left in the year. This reflects the ability to recognize talent and quickly adjust the game plan. Also, a coach should never show their hand too early. The very last part of the season is perfect timing. This is pure coaching genius. Will there be another big surprise when the tournament starts or will we hold it back until our last game of the tournament?

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Fri May 18, 2018 7:48 am
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Post Re: Series Thread - @ UTA
Tongue in cheek?

Reading that post, my Sarcasm Meter was pegged on Max . . . At least I hope my interpretation is correct.

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Fri May 18, 2018 9:20 am
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Post Re: Series Thread - @ UTA
correct meter reading

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Fri May 18, 2018 10:28 am
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Post Re: Series Thread - @ UTA
Bobcats win in 10, Final 5-1. Some timely Mav errors in the 9th and 10th opened the door for the Bobcat comeback.
Win gives the Cats the series, going for the sweep tomorrow.

And StAte knocks off LR again.


Cajuns won again. Guess that door's closed.

Bobcats, with the LR loss, are now in 6th place (half game ahead of LR) and would get a first round bye with a win tomorrow.

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Fri May 18, 2018 10:18 pm
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Post Re: Series Thread - @ UTA
We control our own destiny now. Need to win tomorrow to secure a top 6 seed. Can't rely on Little Rock to lose again.


Sat May 19, 2018 12:25 am
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Post Re: Series Thread - @ UTA
The last regular game of the season is underway in Arlington. After half an inning, The Bobcats hold an early 2-0 lead.
Mavs coming up.

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Sat May 19, 2018 2:13 pm
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Post Re: Series Thread - @ UTA
T9th, Cats holding a 7-1 lead. Barring disaster, looks like we'll be the Tournament 6 seed.

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Sat May 19, 2018 4:35 pm
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Post Re: Series Thread - @ UTA
#6 Bobcats will play #3 Troy on Wednesday. First pitch at 4 ish.

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Sat May 19, 2018 7:06 pm
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Post Re: Series Thread - @ UTA
Nice to see a strong finish to the regular season, winning our last 5 conference games to get a top 6 seed and avoid the play-in round. Not sure how much of a chance we'll have in the tournament, but I feel pretty confident we'd have close to 0% if we were the 7 seed. It was important to break into the top 6.

Tournament starts tomorrow (Tuesday) with the play-in games. Looks like chance of rain every day from Wednesday to Sunday. Hopefully doesn't impact as last year when it poured all week and the format was changed to single elimination (though that could possibly give us a better shot at winning it).

Either way, good road sweep of our conference rivals at their place (even if they've lost 10 straight now).


Mon May 21, 2018 10:59 am
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