New Orleans (WGNO) -- The UNO baseball team is gearing-up for the 2017 season, coming-off one of their best finishes in recent history. The Privateers went from a 14 and 40 mark in 2015 to a 31 and 26 finish in 2016, which was their first winning season since 2008. Before last year, UNO had 32 wins in the previous 3 seasons combined.
It's a new era though for the Privateers baseball program under Head Coach Blake Dean, who is back for his second season leading the team. He was pleased with the turn-around from his guys in his first season, but has even bigger goals for the Privateers this year.
“You've got to set the bar higher,” Dean said. “Last year we tried to keep our goals relative to what we thought we could do. This year we're probably exceeding it a little better, a little more, trying to go for 40 wins this year. That's kind of the mark for these guys. It's tough to get 40 wins. If you can do that, then hopefully that sets you up for potentially playing in a regional."
"We came back and we want it more this year,” said UNO Junior Pitcher Shawn Semple. “We want to go farther in the tournament. We obviously want to make the tournament and we want to go far into it. We've been working our butts off lately and it's just a whole different mindset than it was last year. Last year was just showing that we're a good team. This year it's explaining that we're still that good team and we want to be better than that, than what people really think of us."