Baseball needs answers to awaken the plate at bat

Photo Courtesy of Nebraska -Omaha Athletics

Ray Koch

Many people may still be waiting to wake up from the nightmare that has been the start of the sea-son for the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s baseball team. After being outscored 55-8 in their first four losses, the Mavs have since lost four in a row, being held without a run in the last three of those contests. Granted, the competition has been stellar, but fans surely expected the Mavs to be more competitive against these top teams.

The Mavs showed they were capable of playing quality baseball with a quality team in their first game of last weekend when they battled Louisville, losing 7-2 in a game that was close until the last few innings. Unfortunately, that game turned out to be the only bright side of the series. The Mavs lost the next two games to No. 9 Louisville, 6-0 and 8-0, and only scrounged out six hits combined in both games.

Omaha then came home, but made a quick pit stop in Kansas for a mid-week game against Wichita State. Last time in Kansas, the Mavs lost to the Kansas Jayhawks, 11-1. The Mavs’ previous meeting with Wichita State was a barn-burner where Omaha came up just short, losing 5-4. This seasons battle against the Shockers drew yet another parallel with their previous series – a blowout loss.

Managing only three hits, the UNO was embarrassed 8-0. The loss brought the Mavs to 1-8 on the season, only scoring 18 runs in their first nine games. Things were looking brighter last Friday when the Mavs put 11 runs up against Incarnate Word, but gave up two late runs to squander their lead to lose 12-11. The Mavericks surely have not had a problem giving up runs, as they have given up 70 in their first 10 games.

Without a doubt, Omaha has been the underdog in every game this season. Still, that’s no excuse for the lack of runs being produced, which, outside of their 12-run performance, is less than two runs per game. That type of offense won’t get many wins against Division I teams.

Simply put, if the Mavericks want to find success this season, the bats need to get going. One year removed from having the best hitter in the conference in Clayton Taylor, the 2017 Mavericks do not have one player hitting over .300 this season. With conference play starting in less than two weeks, it is imperative the Mavericks find their identity at the plate.

Head coach Evan Porter surely wanted to start off his first season on a more positive note, but the ugly truth is that there is nowhere to go but up. Many of the questions fans have going into this season remain unanswered. One can only hope UNO finds its identity before they host South Dakota State on March 10 to open conference play.

After a dismal opening two weeks, pressing the panic button seems justified, but even frustrated fans must keep in mind, the Mavericks haven’t even had their home opener yet. Coach Porter will surely look to turn things around before their home-opener. As far as the Mavs’ offense, it’s time to hit, or get hit.