Preview: UNO and Southeastern meet on opening night of the Southland Baseball Tournament

Preview: UNO and Southeastern meet on opening night of the Southland Baseball Tournament

HAMMOND, La. (WGNO) — The UNO Privateers baseball team is in Hammond Wednesday to take on the Southeastern Lions on the first day of the Southland Conference Baseball Tournament.

The prime-time game is scheduled for 7 p.m.

UNO is looking for the program’s first conference title in 17 years. The last time they hoisted the championship trophy was in 2007, when the Privateers won the Sun Belt Conference.

“I’ve said this pretty openly. It’s the only thing that I feel like I haven’t checked off my box here,” says Privateer head coach Blake Dean about a championship. “I mean, I think we came in and revived the place and got it back to where it’s consistent–every year. But we want to take that next step. So, it’s pretty important to us to kind of get there and, again, check that last box and continue building.”

Coach Dean says this year’s team, despite some changes from last year, has a shot to win.

“We lost three of our best position players this past year and actually finished a game better in conference than we did last year, losing our entire infield and the hitter of the year,” says Dean.  “I think we have better pitching options. It’s set up a little bit better across the board. But it’s all about winning that first two to make the pitching relevant.”

UNO earned the third seed in the tournament, with a winning season in the conference (14-10) and recording 30 wins overall.

Southeastern (28-26 overall) lost more conference games than they won (10-14), but, finished strong to earn the sixth seed.

The Lions have the upper hand in the series.

In six tournament games against the Privateers, Southeastern has won five. 18 of the Lions’ 28 wins this year have come at Pat Kenelly Diamond at Alumni Field.

The winner of tonight’s game will go on to face the winner of the 4 p.m. matchup between Nicholls vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Thursday at 7 p.m.

The loser will play the loser of Nicholls vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in an elimination game Thursday at noon.

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