Mavericks open 2021 with their first DI era win over a ranked opponent; 6-3 at No. 22 Oklahoma


Reggie Wortman

Jacob Mohler used a double play and a strikeout to secure the save in the ninth inning, as the Mavericks opened the 2021 season on Sunday with a 6-3 win at No. 22 Oklahoma. Omaha will go for the sweep on Monday afternoon. Photo courtesy of Omaha Athletics.

When the Mavericks traveled across town to play Creighton at TD Ameritrade Park last March, nobody in the Omaha dugout expected it to be their last game for almost a year. With excitement and anticipation building for 2021, the Mavericks were scheduled to travel to Eugene, Oregon this weekend. However, that series was canceled Tuesday afternoon due to contact tracing within the Oregon program.

Just a few days later, the Mavericks picked up a pair of games in Norman, Oklahoma, as the Sooners agreed to welcome Omaha for a two-game series. Oklahoma’s originally scheduled games against Wichita State in Texas were cancelled due to weather.

Sunday afternoon, a mere 351 days since that Saturday night game against the Bluejays, the Mavericks stepped back onto a field. A few hours later, they claimed the first in Omaha program history win over a ranked Division I opponent, 6-3 against the No. 22 Oklahoma Sooners.

Omaha sent Summit League Pitcher to Watch Joey Machado to start on the mound. Last year, the Maverick anchor sported a 2-1 record with a 3.72 ERA to back it up. After working his way out of a jam in the first inning, the senior retired the Sooner in order to complete the second.

In the Maverick half of the third, true freshman Mike Boeve tallied his first RBI of his career via a fielder’s choice, which sent Harrison Denk sliding across the plate for the first run of the contest. Designated Hitter Parker Smejkal grounded out to second, but also drove in a run on the play, giving Omaha a 2-0 lead.

The Sooners plated three runs in the sixth, however, but the Mavericks wasted no time grabbing the lead back in the seventh. After a leadoff walk, Denk scored his second run of the day to tie it, thanks to a Sooner throwing error on a failed pickoff attempt. Garrett Kennedy hit an RBI triple, putting Omaha ahead 4-3, which was the go-ahead run.

In the top half of the ninth, an Oklahoma fielding error put Maverick runners in scoring position. Back-to-back wild pitches allowed the Mavericks to score two more runs, giving them a 6-3 lead.

Jacob Mohler came in during the eighth inning and ended up finishing the game. However, it did not come without a scare, as the Sooners had two runners on in the bottom of the ninth with no outs.

Mohler was able to work his way out of it and earn his first save of the season with a ground ball double play and a strikeout. The strikeout gave the Mavericks their first win over a ranked opponent in the Division I era of the program.

Omaha will look for the sweep Monday afternoon as they send sophomore Richie Holetz to the mound. In his last 14 innings pitched dating back to last season, Holetz has a 0.73 WHIP and an ERA of 0.00. Game two is set for a 12:00 p.m. first pitch.