“We finally stopped beating ourselves and let our opponent beat us instead,” joked Evan Porter, head coach for the University of Nebraska at Omaha Mavericks’ baseball team after it’s latest loss against Northern Colorado.
A week before the conference schedule starts, the Mavericks dropped both games of their doubleheader in it’s first ever game at Isaacson Field. Having previously played at Boy’s Town, the first game in the Maverick’s new home stadium saw a 9-4 loss to Northern Colorado. The Mav’s took a 4-3 lead into the eight inning, but an eight-run assault by the Bears demoralized all chances of an Omaha home-opening win. The hardships continued the next game, as UNO lost, 7-3.
Despite the bad weekend, coach Porter feels good heading into conference play. This bold statement may surprise some given the fact that the team has lost 12 in a row. However, Porter feels that his team is “finally learning how to win.”
As Porter had said before the season started, he isn’t concerned with wins as much as progress until conference play. After a 20-3 opening day loss back in Feb., there was a lot of room for progress. Porter cites improvement in his team’s hitting as of late. After only scoring 17 runs in it’s first 10 games, UNO has scored 29 runs in six games since. Still, the Mavs recent burst of offense hasn’t produced wins.
If anything can be taken away from the Mavs season thus far, it’s that they clearly have flaws. Omaha has yet to find a facet of their game that they can rely on. When the Mavs have had leads, they lose them late in games, courtesy of its bullpen, which fails to have a reliever with an ERA under seven. On offense, the team average is sitting at just a .197 batting average.
When both a team’s hitting and pitching are struggling, wins are going to be few and far between. That is why Porter knows improvement must come before success does.
“We are just trying to improve one area at a time, and I feel like we are doing that little by little,” Porter said. With the conference opener against South Dakota State looming this Friday, the time for the Mavs to turn around a 1-14 record is here and now.
Following a grueling start to the season, Porter declares “I think we’re finally ready to win some games.”