The schedule says Troy — and no, it’s not a mistake.
UNO isn’t back in the Sun Belt Conference. The Privateers just happened to fill the hole on this nonconference weekend with a familiar club.
UNO (17-8) will match up against the Trojans (14-12, 3-6) in a three-game series that starts at 6 p.m. Friday.
The Privateers are facing Troy for the third time since they left the Sun Belt.
The teams played two years ago at Riddle-Pace Field, where UNO took the first game of the series but dropped the final two.
“Troy has always played well,” first-year caoch Blake Dean said. “They’re a tough opponent and they play in a good conference. They see pretty good talent on a regular basis so it’s a challenge for us and hopefully we can get things going again to try to get a few road wins.”
The Privateers are coming off a 13-4 midweek win over Jackson State on Tuesday, one that moved their home record to 15-1.
Dakota Dean and Samuel Capielano each had three RBIs and the Privateers achieved a season high for stolen bases in a game with six.
Catcher Kyle Bracey got his first game off Tuesday, and Ryan Calloway also sat out with a leg ailment. “It’s a long season, so we wanted to try to get those guys a breather when we can, so if we get the opportunity to do one, (we’ll) have those guys get their legs back under them,” Dean said. “Hopefully they’ll be a little more refreshed and ready to roll.”
Meanwhile, the pitching rotation has shifted.
Shawn Semple will start the series opener, Riley Hodge will throw Saturday, and Bryan Warzek — who impressed Dean in several midweek starts — has moved into the weekend rotation. Warzek will throw the series finale.
Keaton Brewer has been the main long reliever for the Privateers this season and is now at two wins after picking up the decision Tuesday. In 11 appearances, Brewer has thrown two or more innings five times. That included 2.2 frames of scoreless ball with just one hit allowed against a potent Jackson State offense, which led the Southwestern Athletic Conference in batting average and runs.
Troy is in its first year under coach Mark Smartt, who was an assistant under Bobby Pierce for 13 years. Smartt’s pitching staff has an ERA of 3.00, which tops the Sun Belt and is tied for 27th nationally.
The Trojans threw their fourth team shutout Tuesday when they blanked Alabama State 8-0.
Three Trojans combined to allow just three hits on the night. Opponents are hitting just .244 against Troy pitchers.
Leading the staff is Grant Bennett who has allowed just six earned runs in 43.0 innings and leads all Sun Belt starters with a 1.42 ERA.
Bennett also leads the team in strikeouts with 35.
For the weekend, Troy’s rotation will be Bennett on Friday, Houston Mabray on Saturday and Lucas Brown on Sunday. Brown has a 3.03 ERA and a 3-3 record. Mabray is getting his second start of the season.
Trey Johns and Marc Skinner have combined for 25 relief appearances and both have an ERA under 2.00. Corey Childress has four of the Trojans’ five saves.