INFIELD

Top returner: Clayton Taylor, Sr., 3B

UNO's first three-time all-conference selection in the Summit League, who led the Mavs in homers and RBIs last season, moves to third base for his final year.

Newcomer to watch: Riley Herold, Fr., SS

Freshman from Millard North, the son of UNO coach Bob Herold, gets the starting nod at shortstop as Taylor makes the transition to the hot corner.

Other projected starters: Sam Palensky, Jr., 2B; Ryan Cate, So., 1B; Collin Leif, Sr., C; Josh Scribner, Fr., C.

Key question: Will the position changes by Taylor and Cate, who played primarily at second last year, make the Mavs better defensively? That is the point of the moves.

OUTFIELD

Top returner: Cole Gruber, Sr., CF The 2015 Summit League batting champion, who hit .399 during his junior year, is already third on UNO's all-time list for career stolen bases with 62.

Another to watch: Alex Schultz, Sr., RF Two-time all-conference pick had a team-high 22 multi-hit games in 2015 and reached base safely in 23 consecutive outings during one stretch of the year.

Other projected starters: Adam Caniglia, So., LF; Cole Patterson, So., LF.

Key question: Will UNO ever have another duo like Gruber and Schultz? They've set a lofty standard through their three seasons in Omaha to date.

STARTING PITCHERS

Top returner: Tyler Fox, Sr., RHP UNO ace, the Summit League pitcher of the year when he went 9-1 in 2014, has 20 wins in his collegiate career — tied for fifth in UNO history.

Newcomer to watch: Eric Moreno, Jr., RHP Junior college transfer, a Scottsbluff native, could become a midweek starter after going 17-6 in his two seasons at Lamar (Colorado).

Other projected starters: Brett Sasse, Jr., RHP; Corey Binger, So., RHP; Shane Meltz, Jr., RHP; Marcus Ethen, Sr., RHP; Skyler Sylvester, Jr., RHP.

Key question: Can UNO find consistent starting pitching through the weekend once league play begins? It knows what it's getting every Friday from Fox.

BULLPEN

Top returner: Sam Murphy, Jr., LHP Lefty reliever, who redshirted last season after breaking his throwing hand, went 3-1 with a 2.86 ERA in 19 appearances out of the bullpen as a sophomore.

Newcomer to watch: David Flattery, So., RHP Junior college transfer, a multisport star while in high school in Iowa, went 5-2 last year in his only season at Iowa Central.

Other projected pitchers: Colton Adams, Jr., LHP; Robert Calvano, Sr., RHP; Brad Olsen, So., LHP; Nick Lawson, Fr., RHP; Cole Johnston, So., RHP; Connor Clark, Fr., LHP.

Key question: Who will the Mavs rely on to close out games? One possible scenario has Schultz coming in from the outfield.

Tony Boone

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