Senior Matt Tew had been a fixture in the UNO starting pitching rotation since midway through his freshman year.
Until the end of March.
The right-hander’s ERA was at 11.15 after giving up nine runs in three innings in a loss to Northern Colorado. His fifth appearance of the season, and fourth start, left him 0-3.
“We changed our rotation a little bit,” UNO coach Bob Herold said. “And I think Matt decided he was going to show me it was a little bit of a premature decision.”
Tew pitched three innings out of the bullpen against Creighton, allowing an unearned run. He followed that up with a scoreless relief inning against Kansas State.
Taking the No. 3 spot in the weekend rotation, rather than his customary No. 1, on April 7 against Oakland for a Summit League game, Tew spun a seven-inning, one-hit shutout, walking one while striking out seven.
He followed that up April 13 with another Summit win at Western Illinois, allowing one run on seven hits in six innings.
Tew, a Bellevue East product, said there hasn’t been any major mechanical overhaul, nothing drastic done to get back on track.
“I’m just trying to throw a lot of strikes,” Tew said. “I’ve got a lot of confidence in the defense behind me. I’m just trying to get ahead of hitters and not think too much on the mound.”
Tew and the Mavs have played just once since running their start to Summit League play to 8-0, losing a non-conference game to Iowa on April 16. Last weekend’s scheduled games with North Dakota State and South Dakota State — the projected top teams in the league — were wiped out by weather.
North Dakota State is scheduled to come to town for a four-game series with the Mavericks at Boys Town, with a 2 p.m. game Friday, a 1 p.m. Saturday doubleheader, then a 1 p.m. game Sunday.
Tew is expected to make a start Saturday.
“You know he’s always going to figure it out,” said UNO’s Cory Buckley, a former Bellevue East teammate of Tew’s. “He’s got great stuff. He’s a little guy, but he throws hard, and when he’s on, he’s on.
“I don’t think he had any confidence in himself for a while. He needed that (Oakland) game and took it from there.”
Tew went 5-4 with a 5.40 ERA as a freshman, including a late-season win over Division II power Central Missouri. He followed that up by going 6-1 with a 2.98 ERA as a sophomore. But last year, UNO’s first in Division I, he was 1-6 with a 5.60 ERA.
“Not much of that was his fault,” Herold said. “(Because of injuries) we had four or five pitchers playing behind him defensively, so we weren’t as good behind him as we should have been.”
After the shaky start, Herold handed over the No. 1 spot in the rotation to freshman Tyler Fox, who is 3-1 with a 4.22 ERA. Sophomore Zach Williamsen is 2-1 with a 2.61 ERA. But now Tew, after a strong month, is 2-4 with a 5.57 ERA and coming on.
Herold said Tew took it well when the rotation was tweaked.
“I understood why and I said I’d work on my stuff, get back out there and do what I had to do to get back in the rotation,” Tew said.
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