For all intents and purposes, the Omaha baseball team’s undefeated conference season was going to end.
Down 10-1 heading into the seventh inning against South Dakota State, the Mavs never quit. They scored eight runs in the seventh to cut the deficit to one run, aided by two home runs. Brett Bonar hit a 3-run homer to cut the lead down to 10-6, and Parker Smejkal added a two-run homer to get the game back within reach at 10-8.
Breyden Eckhout became the hero, hitting the go-ahead two-run single in the ninth inning. Cal Hehnke closed the game out for his fourth save in the bottom of the ninth, for a remarkable 12-10 Omaha win.
The story of the season for the Mavs had been starting pitching, and Joey Machado hit a bump in the road. He lasted only three innings, giving up seven hits and six earned runs. He struck out just two batters. Andrew Brighton gave up four runs over three innings, and Grant Suponchick went two scoreless innings to stabilize things out of the bullpen, allowing for the bullpen to quiet things down.
Bonar had two hits with three RBIs, Thomas Debonville added three hits, scored twice and drove in another run. Every starter for the Mavs had at least one hit.
The Jackrabbits jumped out early, putting up four runs in the first, single tallies in the 2nd and 3rd, and before the Mavs knew it they were down 6-0. Omaha got one back in the fourth and that was all. The Jacks added on four runs in the sixth to get to the 10-1 score. SDSU was 7-2 in Summit play coming into today so this was a win that they really could have used to gain ground on the Mavs.
The series concluded with a doubleheader on April 6. The first game starts at 1 p.m., with the second game approximately 45 minutes after completion of the first one.