Lucas O’ Rear has traded his basketball shoes for baseball spikes. After helping lead the UNI basketball to the NCAA Tournament this past season as a reserve guard, O’Rear made his first appearance on the mound for the Panther baseball team this past weekend. the sophomore came out of the bullpen and pitched an inning and a third in a loss at Indiana State.
UNI coach Rick Heller says O’Rear was mad that he gave up some runs, but Heller says for a guy who just came over from basketball, he showed some good speed and will get better as he gets into better baseball shape to throw.
O’Rear gave up three runs but also struck out two batters in a short stint. Heller says everyone at the game saw the potential and says O’Rear can be as good as he wants to be as a pitcher.
Heller believes O’Rear will see more work as a reliever, a backup closer. He says they need a guy to bridge between their normal closer and the rotation there would be good for the team.
UNI returns to action on Wednesday afternoon against South Dakota State.