Tonight’s game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers has been marked on the calendars of Maverick players since their last meeting on April 5. That was a tough pill to swallow.
In a season with a lot of negatives, the University of Nebraska at Omaha had a chance at a season-salvaging win against Nebraska on a brisk night earlier this April. The Mavericks were unable to capitalize with runners in scoring position, leaving 12 runners on base throughout the game.
Coach Evan Porter’s last words that night? “Just one hit away.”
It’s hard to find a game the Maverick players wanted to win more. Not only are the Huskers in-state rivals, but with so many players on both teams from Nebraska, many of the players have played with or against each other at some point in their little league or high school days.
To add fuel to the fire, Nebraska is a Big-Ten school, and The Summit League, while Division-I, is not up to the caliber of the Big Ten conference. For all of those reasons— and probably many more–UNO will come into this game with a chip on its shoulder.
The Mavericks did everything right. Their pitching and defense showed up, and they found a way to get base runners on. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to scoring more runs than the other team. Leaving the bases loaded three times, UNO was unable to break the game open. As the game wore on, fans inside Werner Park could feel the momentum slipping from the Mavs grip. Lincoln finally went ahead in the eighth inning, scoring two runs. The Mavs never threatened again.
Their first matchup mimicked the plot of Rocky I. The Mavs went toe-to-toe with the Huskers, trading blows for the entire distance. Rocky stunned Apollo Creed when he went the distance in their boxing match.
Although Rocky lost, he proved to himself that he was as good as Apollo. The next time he stepped in the ring with Creed, Rocky left the champion. The same could be true for the Mavericks, as they prepare for round two with the Cornhuskers.
The Mavs will have their chance to go the distance and get some revenge. At 6:35 p.m. at Hawks Field, in Lincoln, Nebraska.