By Nate Tenopir, Sports Editor
UNO’s only home series of 2012 was set up to be the year’s premier event. The Mavs had the chance to play in front of the home crowd at the new Werner Park, and the seniors were being honored in between games of a double header.
The scene was set to be a historic weekend. Unfortunately, North Dakota State was bringing some history of their own.
Riding a 13-game winning streak, the Bison took down UNO 7-4 Friday at the Ballpark at Boys Town, and then ruined the festivities Saturday at Werner Park with an 8-1 and 7-0 doubleheader sweep. North Dakota State hasn’t been defeated since a 6-5 loss to Southern Illinois on March 4.
A Sunday game back at the Ballpark at Boys Town was scheduled for noon, a day after the Gateway went to print for the Easter holiday before the final game.
In the first three games of the series, UNO committed nine errors, hit just .164 at the plate and gave up 17 earned runs. Senior Brady Hohl stretched his hitting streak to 21 games by going 2-for-5 on Friday, but then saw the streak come to an end Saturday morning when he went 0-for-4.
Hohl’s two hits on Friday and Connor McCrite’s two hits in Saturday’s first game were the Mavs’ only multi-hit performances of the first three games.
Nine UNO pitchers saw action, combining for a staff ERA of 5.76. Maverick pitchers allowed 33 hits, walked 12 and struck out 15.
Friday UNO hung with North Dakota State through the first six innings, but the Bison scored two in the eight and two in the ninth to grab the 7-4 win. Down 2-0 in the fourth, senior Scotty Donner reached on a throwing error that allowed freshman Alex Mortensen to score.
A leadoff double in the fifth came around to score in the Bison fifth inning, but the Mavs tied it an inning later with two runs of their own. Senior Mark Waldron got his own leadoff double, then moved to second when sophomore Caleb Palensky walked.
Mortensen sacrificed the pair over to second and third, then McCrite scored Waldron and Donner scored Palensky. Two Bison runs in both the eighth and ninth, set up by four UNO errors sealed the 7-4 NDSU win.
Reliever Derek Landis (0-2) took the loss, allowing four runs, one earned with four hits, one strikeout and one walk in two innings. The Bison outhit the Mavs 14-6.
Saturday the festivities were spoiled in game one when NDSU plated four in the first and had the game called after seven innings. McCrite’s 2-for-3 accounted for half of all UNO hits.
The Bison had three players with multi-hit performances and three players with multi-RBI performances. Junior Matt Tew (1-3) took the loss after six innings of work. Less than two weeks after no-hitting Creighton through five innings, Tew allowed eight hits, five earned runs while walking one and striking out five.
NDSU’s Luke Anderson (6-0) threw a complete game four-hitter allowing one run on three walks and three strikeouts. The four run first by the Bison was followed by three in the sixth and one in the seventh.
The Mavs scored their lone run when Andrew Reck drove in Donner in the third inning. NDSU’s domination on the mound and at the plate continued into the second game.
Bison starter Bryant Larson went six strong, struck out three and walked three while allowing just three hits and no runs. Three NDSU pitchers combined to get the 7-0 shutout.
Hohl, Waldron, Palensky and Mortensen each had a hit for UNO. It was the second game in a row where the Mavs only had four hits.
Sophomore Josh Bullock (0-3) took the loss but surrendered just one earned run on four hits. Bullock threw five strong, striking out three and walking two.
After just three hits in the first four innings, the Bison got on the board in the fifth with the help of an error and a wild pitch. NDSU took the 1-0 lead into the fifth, scored four more and added two in the ninth to make the final 7-0.
Before the game, UNO honored their seniors Cory Buckley, Donner, Landon Fall, Hohl, Colby McCord, Reck, Curtis Smith, Waldron and Brandon Winkelmann.