Scouting UNO: The bad news for the Mavericks (16-17) is that they begin the second half of the Summit League season having lost four of their last five games following Wednesday's 8-6 defeat at Nebraska. The good news for UNO is that it has thrived at this time of the year since moving to Division I. Second place in the conference race is on the line when the Mavs meet the Jackrabbits. Both enter the weekend at 9-6 in league play, four games behind leader Oral Roberts. Outfielder Cole Gruber leads the nation in on-base percentage (.545) and is second in batting (.447) behind Arizona's Scott Kingery (.463). Leadoff hitter Alex Schultz has a 10-game hitting streak going into Friday. Shane Meltz joins Tyler Fox and Zach Williamsen in the weekend rotation, getting the start in Sunday's finale.
Scouting South Dakota State:
The Jackrabbits (22-13), coached by Creighton grad Dave Schrage, have a seven-game winning streak. The Mavs swept SDSU - 64, 7-6 and 14-7 - in the first meeting between the teams in Omaha in mid-March. But the Jackrabbits are coming off a season-best 21-run, 21-hit performance against North Dakota on Tuesday. A pair of former Sioux City Heelan stars, brothers Paul and Philip Jacobson, went a combined 5 for 6 in the 21-7 win. Center fielder Zach Coppola is 25 for 25 in stolen-base attempts this year and is one steal shy of the 27-year-old single-season SDSU record. Friday's starter, Adam Bray, recently became the all-time strikeouts leader for the Jackrabbits. Closer JD Moore has 29 career saves, one short of the all-time Summit League mark.
UNO AT SOUTH DAKOTA STATE
Erv Huether Field, Brookings, South Dakota
3 p.m. Friday: RH Tyler Fox (4-2, 3.86 ERA) vs. SDSU RH Adam Bray (4-3, 3.21)
1 p.m. Saturday: RH Zach Williamsen (54, 3.93) vs. SDSU LH Chris Anderson (4-1, 3.70) 1 p.m. Sunday: RH Shane Meltz (2-2, 3.25) vs. SDSU RH Ryan Froom (3-2, 3.03)