On Sept. 20, UNO baseball’s head coach, Evan Porter, announced a surprise: the addition of an exhibition game against one of the Mavericks’ in-state rivals.
The exhibition game will take place on Saturday, Oct. 6, at UNO’s Seymour Smith Park against the Creighton Bluejays. Fortunately for fans, the admission price to attend this Omaha rivalry is absolutely free.
“We are excited to compete against outside competition this fall and are looking forward to hosting Creighton at our home park,” Porter said, who returns for his third year as UNO’s head coach.
Although it is only an exhibition game and will not count towards their regular season record, UNO looks to distance themselves from last year’s results against the Bluejays – Creighton won all three regular season matchups against the Mavs in the 2017-18 season, and they did so handily (by an average of six runs).
“This will give our staff and team a great understanding on where we currently stand,” Porter said. “(It will) provide insight on what we can improve upon during the remainder of our fall camp.”
With 17 players returning from the previous season, UNO adds 15 new players for their 2019 roster. The newcomers originate from nine different states and two countries. They look to lead the Mavs in search of a Summit League Championship.
Many players took the time during the offseason to play in summer leagues and did so well. Returning pitcher Cal Hehnke had a great summer on the mound and managed to earn himself West Coast League All-Star honors. Another returning Mav, Grant Suponchick, managed a .380 batting average during his summer league with 10 RBIs, two doubles and two home runs. Others, including Spencer Koelewyn, Max Gamm, Tyler Daugherty, Cam Fowler and several more players also participated in summer leagues.
Coach Porter looks to lead his Mavericks into the 2019 season with more success than past years. An early October win against a good Creighton team would prove things were headed in the right direction – not to mention UNO would get their revenge from last season after being swept by the Bluejays in their three matchups.
Last year, the Mavericks finished with a record of 15-35, going 10-17 in Summit League play. The team’s last winning record in conference play came in 2016, where Omaha went 18-12 in the league. They finished with a .500 record overall.
There is room for another exhibition on the schedule for the Mavs before the regular season starts: the NCAA Division I baseball committee recently allowed teams to play up to two exhibition games that do not count for or against their season record. No intentions to add a second exhibition game has been announced as of now.
The game will be played at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6. There are currently no plans to broadcast the event.