After getting swept over the weekend in a Southland Conference series at Lamar, the UNO baseball team knew it needed to get back on track when it returned home Tuesday.
The Privateers got back to what they do best, reeling off their seventh double-digit scoring game of the season on the way to a dominant 13-4 victory over Jackson State at Maestri Field.
UNO (17-8) had lost four of its past five going into Tuesday, but first-year coach Blake Dean said he was happy with the way his team responded after a tough stretch.
“This win was big. It’s definitely a confidence-booster for our guys,” he said. “We swung the bats well, did a little bit better job of pitching and it was big for our guys to get those losses off of their back and start moving forward.”
UNO jumped on the Tigers (12-11) early by reeling off three runs in each of the first two innings, highlighted with RBI hits from Dakota Dean in each frame.
Dakota gave the Privateers their first run with an RBI single in the first, and he followed that by ripping a two-run triple to left field in the second that gave his team a 6-4 lead.
While the Tigers kept things close through the first three innings, UNO put the game out of reach with a four-run fourth inning. Sammy Capielano got the scoring started in the fourth with a two-run single to right field, and Aaron Palmer sent a 2-run double in the same direction to balloon UNO’s lead to 10-4.
Dakota Dean, Capielano and Palmer combined to go 9-for-14 at the plate with eight RBIs and and six runs scored.
“It was definitely good for us to wake up the bats tonight,” said Dakota Dean, Blake’s little brother. “We have to get back to where we were earlier in the season swinging the bats, and it was big for us to have a game like this going into a big weekend series against Troy.”
Jackson State kept the score close early despite UNO’s hot start — partially because of a rough outing for UNO starting pitcher Bryan Warzek — but the Privateers bullpen came in and shut things down from there.
After pitching over the weekend, Warzek got pulled only two innings into the game in an effort to keep his pitch count down. The Privateers bullpen responded by splitting the final seven innings among six pitchers that only allowed three hits and one run.
“We’ve been waiting for it, and the bullpen finally came in and did well,” Blake said. “Keaton Brewer came in and held those guys at bay for a few innings until we could get a few more runs on the board.
“Once we did that, it gave those guys some breathing room and they were pretty solid from there.”