Southern, UNO skidding into Wednesday matchup

The Southern and UNO baseball teams will try to end their losing streaks when they meet at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Lee-Hines Field.

The Jaguars are 2-5 after losing their past five games, a streak that began with a 9-1 loss to the Privateers in the Urban Invitational on Feb. 16 at Alex Box Stadium. UNO (3-7) has lost four straight.

This is Southern’s last game before beginning Southwestern Athletic Conference play at home against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Saturday and Sunday.

“I think we’re playing UNO at the right time because Arkansas-Pine Bluff to me is just like UNO — aggressive, a pesky little team,” Jaguars coach Roger Cador said. “They’re not going to hit a lot of balls out of the park, but boy do they play the game right and hard. You need that.”

After losing to the Privateers, Southern lost two days later at Jackson State 6-2, then was swept in a three-game series at Northwestern State last weekend. It lost the opener 4-3 in 11 innings Friday, then was swept in a Saturday doubleheader 13-9 and 6-2. The Jaguars allowed 40 hits in the series.

UNO got plenty of hits in its series at home against Indiana State last weekend but, like Southern, came away winless. The Privateers had 41 hits but left 43 runners on base.

“We didn’t have timely hitting,” UNO coach Ron Maestri said. “We’re swinging the bats, but all of a sudden the pitching is struggling. We can’t seem to put it all together. When we do pitch well, we don’t hit. And when we’re hitting, the pitching goes south.”

The Privateers have hit 19 batters and walked 47 in 94 innings.

“That spells disaster,” Maestri said. “Our pitchers have to throw strikes, and we need to get situational hitting.”

UNO is slated to start sophomore right-hander Blake Prest (0-1, 4.26 ERA).

“He’s got to help us,” Maestri said. “We’re not deep in our pitching. Our top three guys will work on the weekends, and Blake will probably be our mid-week. He’s got to do a good job.”

Southern will start sophomore right-hander Camilo Godoy, who gave up three runs in one inning in his only appearance of the season.

The Privateers did everything well in the first meeting, limiting Southern to four hits and getting 14 of their own.

Outfielder D.J. Wallace leads the Jaguars with a .429 batting average and seven RBIs, but Cador hasn’t settled on a lineup.

“All I can worry about is taking care of my own business and try to be a leader, not just by vocalizing in front of the guys but also proving it — swinging the bat and playing solid defense out there on the field,” Wallace said. “I just try and lead on the field between those white lines.”

The weather is expected to be chilly, as it mostly has been for both teams since the start of preseason practice. Wallace said he hopes the weather warms up, which could help the hitters do the same.

“It’s about rhythm, and the weather has been pretty bad,” he said. “I’ve been looking forward to it heating up because we’re the summer boys.”