Before the start of the 2022 season, Omaha head coach Evan Porter said he’d find out a lot about his team’s identity over the first eight games. His Omaha team started the season on an eight-game road trip to California with four games at San Jose State, one at UCLA and a three-game series at USC.
The Mavericks finished the trip with a (2-6) record, but the highlight was undoubtedly a 9-4 win over No. 21 UCLA. The Mavericks put up seven runs across the final three innings and clawed their way to the program’s second win over a ranked opponent in the last two years.
“Everyone is working on things and trying to figure out their identity,” Porter said of the early season games. “But when you go up against teams like that, and you compete with them, it can show you how close you are to competing at that level. Our guys did a great job tonight. Not only did they compete with them, they pulled out a ‘W.’”
The Mavericks beat a ranked Oklahoma team last February in Norman, 6-3. However, they only had three total hits in that contest. In their win over UCLA, the Mavericks only recorded one hit over the final three innings. Omaha capitalized on a pair of costly UCLA errors and benefited from a series of walks and hit-by-pitches from the Bruins’ bullpen.
“Having quality at-bats doesn’t necessarily mean getting a base hit,” Porter said. “We had guys fighting in the box, working their way on and not chasing. UCLA has got some pretty good arms out there. When you see those guys throwing low- to mid-90s with wipeout stuff, it can be hard not to chase.
“Our guys did a good job of that. Putting one after another after another gave us three runs that put us up five.”
Although there are still some early-season questions surrounding a new-look Omaha roster, the offense has especially shown up early on. The Mavericks scored 39 runs over the first four games and continued that trend against UCLA and USC. On top of the runs, the Mavericks have consistently been turning in quality at-bats too.
That Omaha offensive outburst was led by Mike Boeve. Boeve, a sophomore from Hastings, Neb., was named the Summit League Player of the Week for his performance against San Jose State as he batted .600 and had an on-base percentage of .727.
Boeve recorded nine hits, walked six times, and was hit by a pitch. Amazingly, he scored 11 of the Mavericks’ 39 runs in the opening series. Grant Goldston, Eddie Satisky, Jack Lombardi and Devin Hurdle also factored into the offense as well.
The Mavericks now head to Fayetteville, Ark., to face the Razorbacks on March 2. Omaha will then open the home portion of their schedule on March 4 against Valparaiso.
“Our better days are ahead of us,” Porter said. “We can be better now too. There is still lots to work on. We’re five games in now, and we have 51 games left in our season. There is a long way to go and a lot of work to do. But it’s nice when the guys are rewarded for all their hard work.”