Omaha starting pitching and bats stay hot in series win over UNC

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Jordan McAlpine
SPORTS EDITOR

Mark Timmins (2-1) allowed just three hits, zero walks and racked up eight strikeouts over eight shutout innings Sunday afternoon. Photo courtesy of Omaha Athletics.

After taking a series at Oral Roberts and beating Nebraska last Wednesday night at Tal Anderson Field, the Omaha Mavericks kept their momentum going this weekend with a home series win over the Northern Colorado Bears.

Omaha dropped the first game of the series Friday night, 1-0. But the Mavericks used multiple offensive outbursts and excellent starting pitching to respond and win their fourth consecutive series. Starters Caleb Riedel, Charlie Bell and Mark Timmins combined for 19 scoreless innings and the Omaha bats gave them 17 runs of support with a 10-0 win on Saturday and a 7-0 win on Sunday.

“All of our pitchers have been doing a really good job,” said Timmins, who threw eight shutout innings in the series finale. “We’re just focusing on attacking hitters and letting our defense work. And, hopefully, our offense will give us enough runs.”

Timmins allowed just three hits on Sunday and racked up eight strikeouts. He also issued zero free bases. The reigning Summit League Pitcher of the Week earned his second straight start and gave his team their second straight win.

The Mavericks have now won seven of their last 10 and after a 3-9 start, Omaha sits just one game below .500 at 14-15. The Mavericks are also 6-3 in Summit League play, which trails only North Dakota State (7-2). Omaha travels to Fargo this weekend to face the Bison.

In Sunday’s series finale, the Omaha offense only needed two innings to do the damage. The Mavericks scored five runs in the third inning, the big blow being a two-run single off the bat of Mike Boeve. Boeve also tacked on a pair of runs in the fourth with a two-run blast and finished the day with four RBI.

The sophomore finished the series 7-for-16 (.438) and posted back-to-back four-RBI games on Saturday and Sunday. He was named the Summit League Player of the Week for the second time this season and he currently leads the conference in batting average (.388), on-base percentage (.533), runs (30), hits (40), doubles (14) and walks (24), among other stats.

In Saturday’s 10-0 drubbing, which required only seven innings, Boeve had an RBI single and a three-run home run.

“I just try to stay simple,” he said of his blast to center field. “I get a good pitch to hit, I want to put a good swing on it. That’s what I did.”

Although Boeve’s single made it a 4-0, it was a two-out, two-run single from Harrison Denk that was the key moment in a three-run second inning. Denk finished Saturday’s contest with three hits and drove in two of Omaha’s 10 runs.

On the mound, Bell tossed six shutout innings and earned his third win of the season. Bell finished the day with eight punch outs and allowed just five hits and two walks. Riedel fired five scoreless innings on Friday and also struck out eight UNC batters.

Riedel ended up getting a no-decision, as the game’s lone run was scored in the eighth inning. But his start set the tone for the weekend from the get-go. The Mavericks will look to continue riding that momentum going forward and the pitching will be key.

“[Starting pitching] has been huge for our ability to stay in games,” said head coach Evan Porter after Saturday’s win. “It helps us get deep into ball games. We’ve played a lot of close ones. It’s a great problem to have when you’re trying to get work for guys who aren’t pitching as much. That means your starters are going pretty deep into the game.”

Omaha will travel to Kansas on Tuesday, April 12, before heading north for that series at NDSU this weekend.

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