UNO uses 12-2, 6-3 doubleheader sweep of Northwestern State to keep postseason hopes alive

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Privateers complete first weekend sweep of season, set program record

NATCHITOCHES, La. – Needing two victories to keep their postseason aspirations alive, the University of New Orleans baseball team began its doubleheader against Northwestern State on Friday evening with a 12-2 victory, following it up with a 6-3 victory to complete the weekend sweep. The sweep sets a program record for the most Southland Conference victories in a season with 16, while marking the first winning record in conference play since 2008 when UNO went 18-11 in the Sun Belt.

New Orleans (28-26-1, 16-14 Southland Conference) posted 25 hits during the doubleheader with five home runs coming from sophomore centerfielder Orynn Veillon who had three and senior designated hitter Hezekiah Randolph who contributed two. The Privateers complimented the offensive outing with a solid performance on the mound, holding Northwestern State (20-34, 10-20 Southland Conference) to just five runs over 18 innings and never allowing the Demons to score more than one in a frame.

“The guys did an unbelievable job,” head coach Blake Dean said. “They fought and dug deep today. It’s the way I wish we had played all season. We were getting big hits and did a great job of battling back every time they tried to make a comeback. It was an unbelievable job all around, I couldn’t ask them to do anything more.”

In the first game of the doubleheader, the Privateers took the lead in the second inning off a double from junior right fielder Tristan Clarke, scoring Randolph, who reached base via a walk. Clarke did not stay in the field long as a single from senior shortstop Aaron Palmer scored the Brampton, Ontario native.

Northwestern State cut into the lead in the third with a bases-loaded single. With the bases still loaded and only one out, sophomore southpaw Bryan Warzek got the ensuing Demons’ batter to fly out, followed by a strikeout to neutralize the threat. UNO responded to the run with two in the fourth off RBI singles from junior left fielder Jay Robinson and senior Samuel Capielano to create a three-run separation at 4-1 before a five-run fifth highlighted by a three-run homer from Veillon made it 9-1.

For UNO in the opener, both Randolph and Robinson posted three hits with all of Randolph’s going for extra bases with one double and two home runs. On the mound, Warzek logged seven innings and allowed two runs off seven hits with seven strikeouts and three walks.

The Privateers offense carried over into the second game of the doubleheader, posting four hits in the first two innings to take a 3-0 lead. For the second-straight game, Northwestern State scored in the third inning and made it a one-run game in the seventh with another tally. UNO recreated its two-run cushion off a RBI single from Clarke in the eighth, and used a two-run homer from Veillon in the ninth to respond to another run by the home team in the eighth and make it a three-run affair at 6-3.

UNO used a balanced attack in the victory, with junior catcher John Cable, junior third baseman Owen Magee, Clarke, Robinson and Veillon all recording two hits. Veillon had four RBI in the victory, while Clarke and Magee had the other two.

Senior righty Riley Hodge had another strong outing on the mound, holding the Demons to a .148 batting average over 5.2 innings with four strikeouts and one run earned. Freshman right-handed pitcher Reeves Martin logged two innings in the second game, with freshman lefty Christopher DeMayo closing out the final 1.1 innings with all his outs coming via strikeouts to get the save.

“You normally think a .500 record should get you a conference tournament berth,” Dean added. “With that logic a 16-14 record should be a no-brainer, but this year the league has been competitive and a 16-win team may be left out of the field. We will be scoreboard watching tomorrow to see if we are going to Sugar Land.”

The Privateers awaited the results of other SLC games, needing some help from other Southland Conference schools to make the conference tournament. It came later Friday when UCA defeated Nicholls in the final game of their series, 5-4, clinching UNO’s postseason berth.

The 2017 Southland Conference Tournament will be from May 24-27 in Sugar Land, Texas. For tickets to future Privateers athletic events, contact the UNO Athletics Ticket Office at (504) 280-GAME (4263) and season tickets can be purchased over the Internet by clicking HERE.

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