Mavericks begin 11-game trip with series win at Fort Wayne

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Photo Courtesy of UNO Athletics
Photo Courtesy of UNO Athletics

Jackson Taylor
SPORTS EDITOR

The Omaha baseball team won their second consecutive conference series over the weekend, going 2-1 at Fort Wayne. The Mavericks improved to 22-21 (12-9 Summit League), while Fort Wayne fell to 21-23 (6-15 Summit League).

Game 1: Omaha 3 Fort Wayne 1

Senior ace Tyler Fox (8-2) earned the win in the series opener on Friday, going 8.0 complete innings. Fox allowed one run on seven hits and a walk with four strikeouts. The win puts Fox one victory away from tying UNO’s all-time record of 29 career wins. Junior RHP Eric Moreno earned his first career save, retiring IPFW in the bottom of the ninth.

The Maverick offense was led by junior Sam Palenksy and senior Clayton Taylor. Palensky tallied two of Omaha’s seven hits on the night. Taylor went 1-for-1 with two walks, a hit-by-pitch and a solo home run. Taylor leads UNO in homers this year with nine.

Omaha struck quickly with a run in the top of the first inning. Lead-off hitter Cole Gruber walked and stole second before scoring on Ryan Cate’s RBI single. Taylor then added his home run in the third inning to give Omaha the prompt 2-0 lead.

Fort Wayne would steal a run back in the sixth on an RBI single from Kendall Whitman.

UNO’s third run came in the seventh inning, when Collin Leif started the inning off by being hit by a pitch. Senior Alex Schultz walked to move Leif to second and Grant Suponchick came up with a base hit to bring in Leif to score the final run.

Game 2: Omaha 0 Fort Wayne 2

Junior LHP Sam Murphy (2-5) had yet another solid outing on the mound, going 7.0 innings. Despite taking the loss, Murphy only allowed two runs on two hits with two walks and ten strikeouts. IPFW’s Trevor Storie (5-5) picked up the win on 7.2 shutout innings.

Gruber and freshman Riley Herold led Omaha’s limited offense. The two went 2-for7 combined for the Mavericks’ only hits of the game.

Through the first five and a half innings, both offenses were held scoreless. Fort Wayne put up
their two runs in the bottom of the sixth off a sacrifice fly and a double. Murphy and relief pitcher David Flattery would not allow another hit for the remainder of the game.

Game 3: Omaha 3 Fort Wayne 2

Sophomore RHP Corey Binger improved to 6-3 on the year, throwing the last 5.0 innings of the game. Binger allowed one run on four hits, issuing two walks and two strikeouts.

Taylor and Leif kept their hot bats to propel Omaha to the slim victory, both going 2-for-4 and combining for two RBIs.

The Mastadons tallied their first run in the first inning off an error and a single. Omaha would respond with a run in the fifth inning. Gruber walked and stole second, his 36th of the season, passing the school-record previously held by Bryan Few (08’). Gruber scored on Taylor’s RBI double to right field to tie the game at one.

Omaha took the lead the following inning, tallying one run on three hits. Palensky, Jack Kalina and Leif hit consecutive singles for the 2-1 edge. The Mavericks plated the winning run in the top of ninth inning. Three more consecutive singles from Taylor, Schultz and Leif gave Omaha the 3-2 lead for the win.

Omaha won the season series against Fort Wayne 5-1. The Mavericks continue their 11-game road trip on Friday night against North Dakota State. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in Fargo.

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