Storylines to watch: Texas State vs. UT-Arlington

Sports Reporter

The Texas State baseball team beat Louisiana-Lafayette in its first game of the Sun Belt Conference tournament and is moving on to the winners portion of the bracket. The team will face the seventh-seeded UT-Arlington Mavericks on Thursday.

The winner will advance to the semifinal game and be that much closer to their first Sun Belt conference championship.

Familiar foes

These two teams faced off last weekend at Bobcat Ballpark. Texas State won two of the three games in the series, including an offensive explosion by the Bobcats in the final game.  Texas State scored a season-high 22 runs in the game and set season-highs in runs scored (22), hits (20) and home runs (4). Texas State won a run rule for the first time this season.

Texas State clinched a conference tournament berth and the sixth seed with the win.

Texas State is 59-44 all-time against UT-Arlington.

Scott Grist

Scott Grist, senior pitcher, will be starting for Texas State. He allowed one run in nine innings against the Mavericks in his last outing. Grist had the Mavericks' number all game and he will look to continue his success.

Grist had an emotional day when he last faced the Mavericks. He attended his graduation directly before the game. Grist said that the game “is something I will remember for the rest of my life."

Grist’s emotions will run high again in this outing due to it potentially being his last appearance as a Texas State Bobcat.

Tanner Hill

If there is one player the Mavericks will be watching out for, it's Tanner Hill, junior catcher. The last time the Mavericks faced Hill he went 4-for-5 with nine runs batted in. His run batted in total ties the school record for runs batted in in a game.

Hill, hitting fourth in the lineup, finished the season with a team-high .320 batting average.

Hill went 2-for-3 with three runs scored in the first game of the tournament against Louisiana-Lafayette. Hill scored the game-winning run in the ninth inning off of a single by David Paiz, senior first baseman.

Same start as last year’s tournament

Texas State won its first round game in last year’s Sun Belt Conference tournament. The team followed that with a loss in the next game against and then a win in the elimination game. The Bobcats lost in the semifinals to end their season.

If the Bobcats can find a way to win against UT-Arlington, the team will advance to the semifinals. Texas State would have to lose twice in order to be eliminated.

Both teams that advanced to the semifinals a year ago proceeded to the championship game with the extra loss. UT-Arlington was one of those teams. The Mavericks lost to Louisiana-Lafayette in the championship game.

What’s next

If Texas State wins, the next opponent is the winner of the elimination game between Troy and Louisiana-Lafayette. If the Bobcats lose, then the team enters an elimination game and their season will end with a loss.

The elimination game is Friday at 6:30 p.m., and the semifinal game will be Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

Follow Matt Gurevitz on Twitter at @Matt_Gurevitz