UNO baseball using success as stepping stone

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June 5th, 2014

Omaha, NE – The University of Nebraska at Omaha baseball team struggled out of the gate to start the 2014 season.

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The Mavericks lost four of their first five games at the start of the year and to make matters worse, junior pitcher Zach Williamson hit a slump, according to UNO head coach Bob Herold. Luckily, both Williamson and the Mavericks got the trains back on the tracks.

Herold said instead of Williamson taking the number one spot in the pitching rotation for the Mavs, sophomore Tyler Fox stepped to the mound. Fox, who hails from Thornton, Colo., went 6-2 last year with a 3.99 ERA. This year Fox went 9-1 with a 2.29 ERA. He led the Summit League in wins, and he was second in overall ERA.

“He is kind of an unflappable guy,” Herold said. “He makes good pitches, he figures hitters out. If a guy is putting good swings on him, he figures him out before he can. If he gets somebody on, he knows how to hold runners really well and he makes a quality pitch, which gets him out of a lot of jams. ”

The UNO baseball team celebrates after clinching Summit League regular season title. (Photo Courtesy UNO Athletics)

The UNO baseball team celebrates after clinching the Summit League regular season title. (Photo Courtesy UNO Athletics)

The Mavs placed eight players on the all-Summit League team, headlined by Fox who won pitcher of the year. As the year wore on, the Mavs seemed to get stronger, winning their final seven games to close out 2014. Herold, who won coach of the year in the Summit, attributes his Mavs taking control of the conference to his senior class. The Mavs were in third place with two weeks left in the season. They fought their way to the top of the standings when it was all said and done.

“Boy did those guys take it by the horns, they went right after it and made a big statement for us,” Herold said. “We won nine of our last ten that was senior led.”

Herold knows he has a tough road ahead, replacing nine seniors, before next season. But he knows the 2014 UNO Baseball team laid the groundwork for future success in D-I for the Mavs. He said his squad plays the game hard and, he said, they play it the ‘right way.’

“I want the feeling that when Omaha comes to town, I want the other teams to be really concerned about us,” Herold said. “We instruct our guys to play the game, to just play the game. There is a right way to run bases, get bunts down and hit the other way and all kinds of stuff. Rather than be concerned about IPFW or SDSU or whoever it is, they have to learn how to play their game. Our team did a really did job down the stretch here.”

The Super Regionals will be played this weekend across the country. The 16 remaining teams in the NCAA tournament battle it out to see who gets to come to Omaha for the 2014 College World Series. Herold knows how close in proximity the CWS is for UNO and he also knows how far it is. But, he said, that doesn’t keep him from not wanting it.

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