It seems as if some of the early season magic surrounding the UNO baseball team has begun to wear off.
The Privateers lost to McNeese State 13-3 in eight innings on Sunday at Maestri Field to wrap up a sweep for the Cowboys in the Southland Conference series while extending UNO’s losing streak to six games.
“We’re starting to get exposed in a few areas,” UNO coach Blake Dean said. “I’ve said all year that pitching would be our Achilles heel, and it’s finally starting to show. There’s no way we could keep up scoring 10 runs a game.
“The pitching has certainly been an issue as of late, but we have to turn the tide and just chip away.”
After starting the season 16-5, it seems UNO (18-14, 4-8 Southland Conference) has hit the proverbial wall as of late and has dropped nine of it past 11 games.
Maestri Field appeared to be a bit of a sanctuary for the team earlier in the season as it had a 15-1 record at home entering the series, but Dean said it might be time for his team to go back to the drawing board
“Did we overachieve a bit to start the season? That might be the case, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be a good team,” Dean said. “I told the guys that unless they truly believe in themselves, then the opportunity to win won’t be there. It all starts with them believing in each other.”
The Cowboys (18-11, 10-5) wasted little time grabbing the advantage early, reeling off three run-producing extra-base hits on the way to taking a 6-0 lead in the first inning.
The Privateers added RBI singles from Ryan Calloway and Jay Robinson in the second to cut the deficit to 6-2, but that wasn’t enough to catch up with the red-hot McNeese State lineup.
Joe Provenzano helped the Cowboys extend their lead with a solo home run in the fifth inning, and McNeese put the game out of reach with two runs in the seventh and four in the eighth to push the lead to double digits.
Provenzano gave UNO fits the entire weekend, going 5-for-10 with six runs and three RBIs during the series.
McNeese’s Ethan Stremmel (2-1) gave up eight hits, three runs and struck out three without issuing a walk in 6.2 innings to get the win. Bryan Warzek (1-3) gave up a hit, three runs and walked two in a third of an inning for the loss.
Daniel Martinez gave up eight hits, six runs two walks and struck out seven in six innings of relief for UNO. Hunter Medine gave up five hits, four runs and two walks in 1.2 innings in relief of Martinez.
“We just kept stringing good at-bats together, and even when we didn’t score, it felt like we kept putting good swings together,” McNeese State coach Justin Hill said. “With the success they’ve had at home this season, it says a lot about our kids that they were able to come in here and get the sweep.”