Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Southland Conference: UNO Privateers Rising

UNO celebrates during an early season win (Photo / mlb.com)

New Orleans - The UNO Privateers are members of the Southland Conference in baseball and are pulling out of a series of setbacks endured by the program for the better part of the last decade. The Privateers hit their nadir when they posted a 4-50 mark in 2011.

Under first-year head coach and former LSU standout Blake Dean, the Privateers are above .500 this late in the season for the first time since 2007. The squad is currently 26-17 and 10-11 in the Southland.

The key to their success hasn't been a single component, but the addition of Dean in the dugout was accompanied by his younger brother, Dakota Dean, joining the Privateers' roster. The younger Dean has settled in as a third baseman (he can play multiple positions) for UNO and is currently batting .359 to lead the Privateers. The team, in turn, leads the Southland with a .311 overall batting average.

New Orleans heads northwest to Abilene this weekend to face the Wildcats. As covered yesterday, ACU is in its third year establishing itself as a Division I team. The Privateers are still re-establishing themselves as a quality Division I squad after drifting for several years through a multi-divisional composite schedule as the overall athletics department found its footing.

The matchup should prove a good benchmark of the progress of two programs vying to gain the league's middle tier and above. The series' first pitch is set for Friday at 6 PM at the Wildcats' Crutcher Scott Field.