By Jared Meyer, Contributor
UNO walked three of the first four BYU batters and allowed the first five hitters to score en route to dropping their first home game of the season 19-9. The Mavs came back to get within 8-4 but a six-run top of the fifth was more than UNO could withstand.
The Mavs pitching staff walked a total of 10 batters while striking out just seven and allowing the Cougars to get 18 hits on 44 at bats.
“We didn’t even present ourselves,” UNO head coach Bob Herold said. “Ten walks and a bunch of them scored. When you put yourself in that kind of a hole, what do you expect?”
Nine runs is the second highest output for the UNO offense this season. The nine runs came on 10 hits and two home runs.
“If you get 10 hits and nine runs you ought to be in about every game…we weren’t even close,” Herold said.
Sophomore Josh Bullock (0-1) got the start on the mound but he lasted only a third of an inning. Bullock faced eight batters and surrendered three hits, four walks, and five runs, four of them earned.
Sophomore Anthony Falcone relieved Bullock and stopped the bleeding. Falcone got BYU in order in the second but gave up three runs on four hits in the third.
It was 8-0 before the Mavs got on the board in the third. Senior catcher Colby McCord, 2 for 5 on the day with two runs scored, scored senior Andrew Reck on a line-drive double to left-center to make it 8-1.
Freshmen Alex Mortensen followed McCord’s double with one of his own, bringing in McCord to make it 8-2. The Mavs continued to battle back in the fourth inning, and made it 8-3 when senior Scotty Donner doubled to right bringing home senior Cory Buckley from first base.
Reck scored Donner on the next at bat, cutting the Cougar lead to four.
But BYU finally caught up with Falcone in the fifth. Falcone walked the first two hitters and BYU piled up six runs on five hits before the inning was over.
Falcone was pulled after four innings, giving up six earned runs on five hits and 2 strikeouts.
The Mavs put two more runs on the board with a Buckley two-run homerun in the fifth then added the last three of the afternoon with a three-run homerun by Alex Mortensen in the ninth.
BYU scored three runs in the sixth and a run each in the eighth and ninth inning for the 19-9 win. “You walk that many, it’s too hard on your offense when you do that,” said Harold. “Whether you’re home or away, if you walk them, you lose. We’ve hit all year. Were hitting ok but it doesn’t matter if you’re always looking uphill. If you get 10 hits and nine runs, you ought to be in about every game….we weren’t even close.”
Though it was almost mid-March UNO was playing in just their first home game of the year. The Mavs put together a schedule of all Division I teams but that means playing most of those teams on the road.
Monday was one of the few times the team has actually been in Omaha. The Mavs started out in Texas, went to Washington, traveled to Missouri for a game then just returned from games at Northern Colorado.
“We wanted to play as tough a schedule as we could and we are,” Herold said. “We want to know what to recruit to.”
“Now I can visibly see the difference between the players we have and the kind of guys we’re gonna need to have to play in Division I.”
With all the traveling over the first month of the season, senior shortstop Brady Hohl was glad to be back in town and finally playing a home game. Hohl went 1 for 4 on the day with a double, a walk and a run scored.
“We’ve been on the road quite a bit but it’s good to get out in front of the home crowd. We battled but it just didn’t go our way today,” Hohl said.
“There are always improvements to make. We just got to focus on one pitch at a time and throwing strikes. Putting pressure on the other team is the most important key,” said Hohl.
Hohl said that the W’s will come as long as they can throw strikes and play defense.
UNO is currently playing in the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational and will be in Florida throughout Spring Break. After the long trip in Florida, the Mavs will be back in Omaha, but will not be playing a home game as they face the Creighton Bluejays at the home of the College World Series, TD Ameritrade Park on March 27.