PERFECT GAME SPRING SWING
At Emerson, Georgia
1 p.m. Friday, UNO vs. Eastern Michigan: RH Tyler Fox (5-4, 2.88 ERA in 2015) vs. RH Sam Delaplane (5-3, 2.93)
11 a.m. Saturday, UNO vs. Eastern Michigan: TBD
6 p.m. Saturday, UNO vs. NJIT: TBD
11 a.m. Sunday, UNO vs. Eastern Michigan: TBD
Scouting UNO: They were freshman starters when the Mavericks won the first of their two Summit League regularseason championships during the transition to Division I. Now standouts Clayton Taylor, Cole Gruber, Alex Schultz and Tyler Fox are seniors as UNO becomes eligible for postseason play. The Mavs open their season in Georgia with a three-game series against Eastern Michigan and a Saturday evening contest with NJIT. Fox, UNO's longtime ace, is scheduled to start the opener, but coach Bob Herold expects to use a lot of arms this weekend. The Mavs (21-31 last year) slumped after a 6-0 start in league play as the reigning regular-season champ. They open this season under the radar a bit — they were picked to finish fourth in the Summit — and with a proven nucleus of veterans. ... Herold has 499 career wins at UNO as he opens his 17th season at the school.
Scouting Eastern Michigan: The Eagles return nearly their entire lineup from a team that went 2035 last year and finished down in the pack of the Mid-American Conference, but all three of their weekend starters on the mound are gone. Junior Sam Delaplane should get the ball on Friday, but what direction Eastern Michigan goes after that is anybody's guess. First baseman John Montgomery was the top hitter last season, while third baseman Mitchell McGeein led the Eagles in homers and RBIs.
Scouting NJIT: The Highlanders bring back six regular position players and three of their top four starting pitchers from a team that went 24-23-1 last season, their last as a Division I independent. It was their first winning season since 2006. NJIT begins play in the Atlantic Sun Conference this spring. It was picked to finish at the bottom of the eight-team league. Returners Jesse Uttendorfer and Stephan Halibej both hit over .300 last season. Ian Bentley led the pitching staff with seven wins while posting a 3.42 ERA. The Highlanders open the season with an afternoon game against Eastern Michigan on Saturday before playing UNO that night.