By Derek Noehren, Contributor
Just because the UNO baseball team is the new team on the block doesn’t mean they intend on easing their way into Division I baseball. In their second official year as a D-1 baseball team, and first as a full-time Summit League member, Head Coach Bob Herold wants to dive right in, especially when it comes to scheduling.
“If we’re going to be Division I, I want to jump right in and be Division 1 and not just schedule so we win a bunch of games,” Herold said. “We will find out right away what we need by being challenged right away, if that’s pitching or hitting or whatever we will find out.”
Herold’s efforts to get UNO baseball some real D-1 experience began last season when the Mavs schedule only included five home games and seven total in Omaha.
UNO went on stretches where they were on the road for 22 straight days, 25 straight days and 31 straight days.
Some of those opponents included the likes of Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota and Kansas State.
This season will be no different. UNO opens their schedule with four games on the road, including a three-game series in San Antonio against the University of Texas-San antonio, Stephen F. Austin and Penn State.
Omaha then travels south to take on seven-time College World Series participant and 1989 national champion Witchita St.
The Mavs will also see the Tigers, Hawkeyes, Golden Gophers and Wildcats on the road this season as well.
The long road road trip to start 2012 did a number on UNO’s record to start last season. After the first 15 games, the Mavs were just 3-12.
Some of that is a result of playing away from home for three straight weeks. Part of it is also being a northern school and not getting much time outside before the season starts.
However, unlike a lot of other northern schools, UNO does have some options.
“Obviously you cant practice outside in 19 degrees, but our indoor facility at Chili Greens is excellent,” Herold said. “Being indoors insn’t as good as being outside, but it’s the next best thing, it’s a great facility.”
In 2013 UNO will be looking to rebound from a hectic 2012 season that saw them finish 12-36. The road weary Mavs played their five true home games last year at three different stadiums around the metro.
This season the Mavs will play 19 home games, including three at Westside High School, nine at Boys Town and seven games at Werner Park in La Vista.
“Werner is a showcase, it’s a top notch facility and it gives us a chance to showcase our guys and any time you can do that it’s great,” Herold said.
Coach Herold credits the UNO administration and their everyday attitude and support towards the program during the transition to Division 1 baseball.
“Trev Alberts, Josh White and the whole administration have been behind us 100 percent since day one,” Herold said. “You can feel the support with this administration. Everything is positive and they talk it every day.”