UNO unveils 2018 basketball schedule
Privateers begin season at MLB Andre Dawson Classic and 29 home games (one at Wesley Barrow)
NEW ORLEANS – Twenty-nine home games and the MLB Andre Dawson Classic highlight the 2018 University of New Orleans schedule, released Wednesday by third-year head coach Blake Dean.
The Privateers begin the season at the Andre Dawson Classic versus the Illinois-Chicago, Alabama State and Southern University. Saturday’s game versus ASU will be at Wesley Barrow Stadium and televised on MLB Network.
Notable games include a 6:30 p.m. contest at LSU Feb. 21, hosting Virginia Tech Feb. 24, Iowa Feb. 25, three games versus Tulane, an 11 a.m. matinee at Ole Miss March 20 and a three-game set at Texas (April 20-22).
Eleven of the season’s first 12 ballgames will be in the friendly confines of Maestri Field, the lone away contest just an hour away at LSU.
“This will be our most difficult schedule,” said Dean. “If we want to continue growing at UNO and making the program what it once was, we must have a tough nonconference schedule that challenge us. It helps our recruiting efforts when teams like LSU, Texas, Ole Miss, Virginia Tech and Iowa are on the schedule. We are excited about the 2018 season and mixing many of our new faces on the field. In years past, we were offense heavy but this season, we will rely on our pitching and defense to lead the charge.”
Southland Conference play begins with two games at Southeastern Louisiana March 9-10 and the series finale in New Orleans March 11. The Privateers leave the Pelican State for the first time March 16-18 for three games at Abilene Christian.
The 2018 Southland Conference Tournament will once again take place in Sugar Land, Texas.
The 2017 season was a historic one for the Privateers, as UNO ended the campaign with 30 wins, marking the first time the club recorded back-to-back winning seasons since 2007 and 2008. The 16 conference victories were a record since joining the Southland and the club’s two victories in the tourney propelled UNO to the SLC Semifinals for the first time.
With 17 incoming players (freshman and transfers), Dean and his staff will look to the 20+ Privateer returnees to set the tone.
“We lost some key guys from our everyday lineup but return some veterans in our lineup and on the mound.”
Junior center fielder Orynn Veillon hit .300 with 15 home runs last season and will be one of the key returners for the Privateers. Veillon’s 15 home runs were ninth most in a single season and his 53 RBI and .609 slugging percentage were tops on the club.
After Friday night starter Shawn Semple was drafted by the New York Yankees last season, Dean looks to Bryan Warzek to fill the role. The southpaw ended the 2017 season only one win behind Semple’s nine and posted a 2.12 ERA, the eighth lowest by a UNO pitcher. Overall, the UNO pitching staff ended last year’s campaign with 467 strikeouts, the fourth-most in program history. In addition to Warzek, returners like Reeves Martin (redshirt sophomore righty) and Chris DeMayo (junior lefty) will service the team in multiple ways.
Senior John Cable led the team in hitting last season but his return may be delayed due to an injury in summer ball. Also returning are Jay Robinson, who has played for three consecutive seasons but was nagged by injuries in 2017, and senior third baseman Owen Magee, who missed the Southland Conference Tournament due to injury.
The Privateers set nine-year highs in total hits (602), doubles (107), on base percentage (.372), fielding percentage (.972), strikeouts (467) while recording the lowest opponent batting average (.267).
Dean enters his third season as skipper of the Privateers. He is joined by Rudy Darrow, Brett Stewart and Dylan Belanger.
Tickets will be available January 8.
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