The UNO baseball team might have ended this long season with a losing record.
But next year looks better, coach Ron Maestri said. The effort is there.
“They fight. They haven’t given up,” Maestri said after a 4-3 loss to Central Arkansas in Saturday’s finale. “We’ve just got to get a little more talent. But they fight well, They compete. That’s all you can ask.”
The Privateers (11-35, 2-25 Southland Conference) lost seven straight games by one or two runs after getting swept by Northwestern State by scores of 4-3, 6-5, and 4-2 last week.
The Privateers lost those first two games in the Demons’ last at-bat.
“We’re just a little bit short,” he said. “We’ve gave a lot of freshmen playing time the last two weeks. We’ve got some good kids coming in next year.”
Maestri just finished his first year in his second stint with the program he built at the stadium that bears his name.
This was also his first losing season. But after taking the 1974 and 1984 squads to the College World Series, he wasn’t that concerned with his record.
“I’ve really enjoyed coming out here with the kids,” he said. “The Ws and Ls — I’m not going anywhere. If they happen, they happen. The biggest thing is to see them improve. You just get effort every day. That’s been very, very satisfying.”
One example of the effort Maestri referred to was that of Saturday’s starting pitcher Raymond Winter, who pitched 8.1 innings. He allowed, four runs on 11 hits. He walked one and struck out five. He threw 130 pitches.
The Privateers had six seniors on their roster, and Maestri said he’s been looking to beef up his pitching staff.
“We recruited some pitching, because you have to have a little bit better velocity than what we had,” he said. “The pitching — surprisingly, and I don’t mean to be derogatory, has done a fantastic job for most of the year when you’re losing. (It was) like the ballgame Ray pitched (Saturday). Just a great job.”
Maestri said along with a deeper staff, he will hopefully have a few more hitters to complement the crop of returning players.
“We’ve got some pieces. As long as they compete, that’s all you can ask,” he said. “And they competed.”