The World-Herald's Tony Boone compiled everything you need to know for UNO baseball's series against Western Illinois.
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3 p.m. Friday: RH Payton Kinney (8-1, 1.55) vs. LH Jace Warkentien (5-4, 6.67)
1 p.m. Saturday: TBD vs. RH Javin Drake (5-5, 4.25)
1 p.m. Sunday: LH Spencer Koelewyn (4-1, 3.61) vs. RH Jack Carberry (5-4, 6.67)
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Scouting UNO: If scenarios play out the right way, the Mavericks (26-16-1, 18-6) could clinch the top seed in the upcoming Summit League tournament — and the right to host the event next year — this weekend. UNO would need to win at least two games at Western Illinois and have second-place South Dakota State lose at least two to Oral Roberts at home. The Mavs would also need to match ORU’s victory total for the weekend or the regular-season title could come down to their home series with the Golden Eagles next week. UNO has lost back-to-back series for the first time all season and is looking to turn things around against a team it swept in Omaha in late March. The Mavs will still be without starter Joey Machado this weekend, but Payton Kinney and Spencer Koelewyn are a combined 12-2 with a 2.58 ERA. UNO also still ranks fifth nationally in fielding percentage at .982. The Mavs have allowed only 85 runs in conference play this season, 28 fewer than any other Summit team. UNO won the conference in 2013 and ’14.
Scouting Western Illinois: The Leathernecks (18-27, 12-12) stunned preseason favorite Oral Roberts in Tulsa, Oklahoma, last weekend to get back in the thick of the conference race. Western Illinois enters its weekend series with UNO in a tie with North Dakota State for the fourth and final spot in the Summit tourney with six games remaining. The Leathernecks were swept by the Mavs in Omaha earlier this season, but they went 5-1 against ORU in league play. They have Purdue Fort Wayne, which is winless in league play, to end the season, so they’re set up for a strong finish. Saturday starter Javin Drake struck out 12 batters in his first career complete game in Tulsa last week. When he’s on, he’s as good as any pitcher in the Summit. Junior infielder Kevin Raisbeck is the reigning league player of the week after hitting .500 at ORU. Outfielder Steve McShane, a two-sport star at WIU, was invited to minicamp with the Pittsburgh Steelers recently. The running back ran for 2,375 yards during his college football career.