The UNO softball team already has played Oklahoma State, Iowa, Indiana and Washington.
So, there's no big circle around Tuesday's date with No. 21 Nebraska.
“We're just looking at it as another quality opponent on our schedule,'' coach Jeanne Scarpello said. “We're more excited it's close to home, so our fans don't have to travel as far to watch.''
The teams will meet at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Bowlin Stadium in Lincoln. The game was pushed up from its original 5 p.m. start.
It will be the first time in five weeks that the University of Nebraska at Omaha will play on Nebraska soil. The Mavs haven't stepped foot on their home field, Westside Field at Westbrook, practicing inside instead.
“That's probably bigger to our kids than anything,” Scarpello said. “Not to get on a flight or be in an airport.”
UNO's home opener against North Dakota State was canceled due to wet fields last weekend, so the Mavs will start Summit League play against Fort Wayne on Saturday if weather permits. Nebraska begins Big Ten play against Northwestern.
“It will be a good tuneup for that,” Scarpello said.
The Huskers are 18-5 with wins over No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 23 Florida State. All five of their losses are to Top 20 opponents. The Mavs beat the Cowboys and Indiana and lost to Iowa and Washington en route to a 22-2 record, their best start since 2002.
NU has won seven straight and UNO five.
Both teams are clicking, with strong defense, good hitters and quality pitchers. Both have assimilated several youngsters into their lineup.
“Both teams are finding out who they are,” Scarpello said.
To beat Nebraska, the coach said the Mavs will have to keep the same approach they used all season — bring energy and excitement to every pitch. They'll need to make the routine plays to not give the Huskers any extra chances, and get timely hitting.
“That's all we talk about to our players: take ownership of every at-bat,” Scarpello said. “If we do that, we'll play a good game against them.”
It will be a chilly meeting, with the high on Tuesday expected to be in the mid-40s. That shouldn't faze either team, Scarpello said, because both have to go even further north for league competition.
She feels bad for the fans and wishes it could be in the 70s. But she hopes they'll come out to see all the homegrown talent on the field.
“A lot of people don't know what this team is about,” she said. “It's the first time they'll be able to do that.”
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