By Nate Tenopir, Senior Staff Writer
Last weekend at No. 1 Emporia State, the UNO baseball team was able to earn a series split, handing the Hornets their second and third losses of the season. The losses dropped Emporia out of the top spot in the MIAA standings and set up another big weekend series against a Central Missouri team ranked just ahead of the Mavs.
This time around, however, UNO was unable to find similar success.
The Mavs lost both games on Friday before winning Saturday’s doubleheader finale to salvage one win on the weekend.
“I saw a team play one way for three games and another way in the last game,” said UNO Head Coach Bob Herold in reference to his team.
With the losses, UNO remains third in the MIAA, though at 16-8 they’re only one game behind fourth-place Missouri Western (16-9) in the loss column.
In their only win of the weekend, the Mavs took out some frustration, stomping the Mules 10-0. Brady Hohl’s leadoff double sparked the Mavs to a four run lead in the bottom of the fourth and UNO added to its total in the next three innings.
Two more runs in the fifth inning, three in the sixth and one more in the seventh built the Maverick lead to 10-0.
It was the first time since 2009 that Central Missouri had lost as a result of the 10-run rule and been shut out in the same game.
“It was good to go out on a winning note,” junior catcher Colby McCord said. “But we can’t just forget how we played the previous three games.”
UNO pitcher Matt Tew earned his second win in four days to improve his record to 3-0 on the season. Tew sparked UNO with six strong innings on the mound. In those six innings, he allowed only two hits and two walks.
“Matt Tew’s got guts and saavy,” said Herold. “He’s just meaner than snot.”
In Saturday’s opening game, Central Missouri built a 5-0 lead for the third game in a row against the Mavericks. After two runs in the first, a walk followed by back-to-back Mule home runs put UNO in a familiar position.
Maverick senior Travis Jacobi and freshman Beau Suponchick each hit solo home runs in the bottom of the third to get the Mavs on the board, trailing 5-2. The Mules added two more runs, but after two runs by UNO in the fourth and the fifth, the two teams were locked in a one-run game.
Unfortunately for the Mavs it would be the last time they scored. As UNO got within striking distance in the fifth inning, Central Missouri answered with three runs on a walk, two doubles and a single in the very next inning to end the scoring at 10-6.
On Friday, the Mavs got off to slow starts in both contests losing 6-1 in the opener and dropping the second game 9-8. Central Missouri’s Don Lisi started the first game going all seven innings for a complete game, improving his record to 7-0 on the year.
In the effort, Lisi scattered seven hits, gave up only one run and allowed no walks. UNO’s ace Joe Holtmeyer matched Lisi’s performance in terms of innings pitched, but surrendered three runs in the first inning that his offense couldn’t match.
The Mules started the game with four consecutive hits, working their way around the base paths to earn three runs in the inning. Though the hits were all singles, a wild pitch, a bunt single and hitters who were able to put the ball in play aided Central Missouri.
UNO got two men on base in the fifth and put one run across on a groundout but were already trailing 5-0 at that point. The Mavs faced the same situation in the second game after the Mules second 5-0 start of the weekend.
UNO answered in the bottom of the inning, putting across two runs on three hits. From there the teams began to go back and forth.
Central Missouri responded with two of its own in the top of the fourth and another in the top of the fifth. The Mavs plated two in the bottom of the fourth, three in the bottom of the fifth and one in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game at eight.
The game turned on a groundout by Central Missouri that ended up as an errant throw to first base. With a runner already on second base, the error allowed the Mules to score the only run they would need the rest of the way.
UNO got a hit in the bottom of the inning, but it was erased by a fielder’s choice on the very next play.
“It was a disappointing weekend for me, honestly,” Herold said. “We knew they were good. They know how to win and expect to win. They walk with a swagger that we don’t have yet, but we’re getting a little better.”