UNO Softball finishes with late tournament run

Omaha Softball v IUPUI. March 25, 2016. Photo courtesy of UNO Communications.

Erik Mauro

Omaha, NE – The UNO softball team ended their season one game short of the Summit League Championship round.

The Omaha Maverick softball team hovered around .500 for a good chunk of the season, but couldn’t recover from a bad weekend in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Heading into that weekend, they were 11-13, and lost all five games that weekend, dropping to 11-18.

They would finish at 20-31, 5-9 in Summit League play, tying for fourth in conference play. They had a good showing in the conference tournament, though, going 2-2. They would advance to just one round short of the conference championship, falling short to South Dakota State by a score of 4-3.

The Mavs were at a disadvantage, playing just six home games. The other 45 were either on the road or at a neutral site. The daunting schedule would prove to be a challenge.

This season was an improvement from 2017 – the Mavs made the conference tournament this season after missing it in 2017. Part of the reason for the struggles this past season was that the Mavericks are a young roster. The team will lose only three seniors in Kelly Pattison, Crystal Pablo and Jessica Nelson.

Pattison led the Mavs in the main offensive categories, average, home runs and RBIs. Omaha will have to replace her production, but with another year of experience under their belt in Division I competition, this team looks to improve next season.

The Mavericks had to rely on starting pitcher Sydney Hampton for a lot of their pitching. Hampton was a freshman, and led the team in start with 16, and tied for the team lead in appearances with 28. Hampton pitched 119.2 innings, giving up 125 hits, walking just 35, and striking out 65. Opponents hit .267 against Hampton. Many viewed her as the Mavericks’ best pitcher.

For the season, Omaha had a team ERA of 4.76. In 330.2 innings, they walked 150, struck out just 184, with a team batting average against of .296.

Omaha also returns most of the offense which should also be better if they can replace Kelly Pattison’s production.

One week after the season concluded, Head Coach DJ Sanchez announced that she will be stepping down. A search for her replacement is underway.

At this point this is a fairly experienced roster, and the conference tournament appearance was step one. The next step in the 2019 season is a winning record and a deep run in the conference tournament.