By Andrew Nelson, Contributor
The Omaha baseball team traveled to Port Charlotte, Florida for the Snowbird Baseball Classic.
Other teams attending this year’s festivities included fellow Summit League foe North Dakota State and other D-1 schools, such as the University of Iowa, Ohio State University, Boston College, Seton Hall and Villanova. The Mavericks went 4-4 at last season’s invite, defeating the likes of St. Bonaventure, Villanova and Western Michigan.
This season’s trip to Port Charlotte wasn’t as satisfying as last year’s though. UNO kicked off the tournament last Friday with a loss to Saint Leo University of Saint Leo, Florida 4-3. The Mavericks were led by Clayton Taylor, who went 3-for-4 at the plate including two solo home runs to right field. Taylor now has three dingers on the season. Junior Alex Schultz also went 2-for-4 with a pair of base hits for the Mavs in the loss.
A ninth inning attempt was cut short by the Saint Leo Lions as they shut down the Mavs with two points in the bottom of the inning. Omaha moved on to playa double-header Saturday against Kentucky.
The losing ways continued into Saturday morning’s first of two match-ups this weekend with the Kentucky Wildcats who won the first game 6-5 in extra innings. The SEC club needed a ninth-inning rally to send the game into overtime.They used three runs in four hits to eventually win a stalemate in the bottom of the fourteenth with a bases-loaded single.
Senior Daniel Jewett led the Mavs going for a career-best 4-for-6 with an RBI. Once again Schultz came through for the Mavs going 3-for-6 and scoring a run. Junior Clayton Taylor also scored two runs in the loss.
Senior Tyler Hamer took the mound in Friday’s second game and he never left throwing a complete game allowing Boston College to one run on five hits. He also had a career-high four strikeouts in the Mavericks 5-1 win.
Fellow senior Justin Threlkeld went 3-for-4 and scored a run while junior Cole Gruber and Schultz also had a pair of hits each and run scored. Omaha climbed to an early lead with four-runs over the first four innings, before Gruber’s run sealed the deal in the seventh.
The Mavericks had a rematch with Kentucky Saturday afternoon and lost the contest 5-1. The Wildcat’s preseason all-American Kyle Cody kept the Mavs at bay throwing seven scoreless innings and striking out nine. Zach Williamsen allowed three runs in the third before two hits and a Maverick error cost them two more runs in the fifth. Redshirt freshmen Tim Schaarman scored the Mavs only run on a Kentucky error.
Omaha finished up the Snowbird Classic Sunday morning with an 8-2 loss to Mount St. Mary’s. Alex Mortensen and Schultz scored the Mavs only runs. The Mountaineers had two runs in the second before scattering another two. The Mount blew the game wide open, scoring four runs in the sixth to take an 8-1 lead.
The Mavericks, now 5-7 on the year, will return to Nebraska this weekend for their home opener against North Dakota. The Mavs play North Dakota in three 1 p.m.games Friday, Saturday and Sunday.