Spring swing split: Mavericks go 2-2 opening tournament


Jackson Taylor

Omaha vs. Eastern Michigan: L 16-3

Omaha got off to a hot start in the season opener on Friday. In the first inning, senior outfielder Cole Gruber laced a one-out double to right center. Senior infielder Clayton Taylor then followed with a two-run homerun to put the Mavs up 2-0.

Senior ace Tyler Fox got the start for the Mavs and was lights out in the early innings, holding the Eagles scoreless through three. Sophomore infielder Ryan Cate gave Fox some insurance in the fourth with a solo home run.

In the bottom of the fourth, things got ugly very quickly. EMU struck for 10 runs in the inning, off nine hits and capitalizing off of four UNO errors. Fox would leave the inning after giving up just three earned runs.

A couple two-run home runs later over the next few innings and the Eagles made the final score 16-3.

EMU’s Sam Delaplane (1-0) took the win after going 6.2 innings and giving three runs on six hits. Fox (0-1) took the loss, giving up 10 runs (3 earned) on 11 hits, one walk and three strikeouts.

Freshman Riley Herold went 2-3 with a pair of singles in his collegiate debut. Cate and Taylor each finished 1-3 with their first home runs of the season. Gruber went 1-3 and stole two bases.

Photo Courtesy of Eric Koeppe
Photo Courtesy of Eric Koeppe

Omaha vs. Eastern Michigan: W 2-1

Defense was the name of the game in the second matchup between EMU and UNO. Brett Sasse was on the bump for the Mavericks to start the game. The junior went five innings and only gave up one run on the day.

The Mavericks struck early again on Saturday. After leadoff batter Alex Schultz reached base on a hit by pitch, Taylor moved the speedy Schultz to third on a single to rightfield. Schultz then scored on a throwing error to put Omaha up 1-0.

EMU would score in the fourth inning and Sasse was replaced in the sixth by junior relief pitcher Sam Murphy. It was Murphy’s first appearance since his elbow injury last year.

In the bottom of the sixth, freshman infielder Grant Suponchick roped a double to score Sam Palensky, giving Omaha a 2-1 lead.

Murphy was lights out in the sixth through eighth inning. He refused to give up any runs and escaped a tight jam in the eighth.

Sophomore infielder and relief pitcher Ryan Cate came on in the ninth to close the game. The Mavericks’ victory was coach Herold’s 500th career win.

Photo Courtesy of Eric Koeppe
Photo Courtesy of Eric Koeppe

Omaha vs. NJIT: W 9-3

Sophomore righty Corey Binger took the mound for the Mavericks’ third game in two days against New Jersey Institute of Technology. Binger went five innings and allowed just one run, another solid performance by the UNO starting rotation.

The top half of the order stayed hot in game three, knocking in three runs in the first inning. After Schultz and Gruber both singled to start the game, Taylor came through with a double driving in two runs. Palensky then bunted Taylor to third who then scored by Adam Caniglia sacrifice.

Marcus Ethen replaced Binger in the sixth. The senior made quick work of the NJIT offense, allowing just one unearned run in his two innings.

Omaha struck for six more runs and junior transfer Eric Moreno closed the door for the 9-3 win.

Photo Courtesy of Eric Koeppe
Photo Courtesy of Eric Koeppe

Omaha vs. Eastern Michigan: L 8-1

Omaha lost its second game of the tournament to EMU on Sunday.

Junior RHP Shane Meltz got the start for Omaha. Meltz gave up four runs in the first inning, off a couple base hits and a home run.

Sophomore David Flattery would replace Meltz, but the pitching struggles continued for the Mavs.

Flattery would only last an inning before senior Robert Calvano and then freshman Cal Hehnke would get a chance to pitch.

Meanwhile the Mavs struggled to get anyting going offensively. Their only run came when Taylor reached on an error with the bases loaded.