Omaha – In its first ever appearance at Werner Park, the Nebraska baseball team improved to 29-17 on the year with a 4-1 win over the Omaha Mavericks. The Huskers swept the two-game season series against the Mavs this season, adding a 17-6 win two weeks ago in Lincoln.
The Mavs took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth on an unearned run, but were only able to produce three hits the rest of the game, while the Huskers scored the final four runs of the contest. After taking a 2-1 lead in the top of the sixth, three Husker relievers combined to shutout UNO over the final four innings, including a three-strikeout performance by Josh Roeder in the ninth for his 10th save of the season.
At the plate, Austin Darby, Pat Kelly and Blake Headley all had two hits, as the first five hitters in the Husker lineup went a combined 7-for-20.
Omaha produced the game’s first scoring chance when Caleb Palensky led off the bottom of the second with a double, but NU starter Kyle Kubat responded with a pair of pop outs and a fly out to strand Palenksy in scoring position. Nebraska then put a runner on third with two outs in the top of the third, but UNO starter Zach Williamsen induced a fly ball off the bat of Ryan Boldt to keep the game knotted, 0-0.
Colton Howell took the mound in the bottom of the fourth and promptly gave up a base hit to Alex Schultz, who then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Tyler Splichal. Howell quickly ended the scoring threat by picking off Schultz at second and striking out Palensky looking.
After Williamsen retired the Huskers in order in the top of the fifth, the Mavs converted a leadoff walk to a 1-0 lead in the home half of the inning. Daniel Jewett led off with a walk, moved to second on a passed ball and to third on a sacrifice bunt. With the Husker infield drawn in, Connor Messinger snuck a RBI single up the middle for the game’s first run.
With just two hits through the first five innings, the Huskers strung together three straight one-out hits in the top of the sixth that scored a pair of runs. Darby got the rally started with a double that was followed by a double by Michael Pritchard, his 16th of the season. Kelly then came through with a RBI single that put the Huskers up 2-1 and knocked Williamsen out of the game. Reliever Dylan Casey took the mound and put an end to the damage with a pair of strikeouts.
The Huskers loaded the bases with one out in the eight and were able to add to their lead when Ben Miller came through with a RBI single, but the inning then came to an end with Steven Reveles lined a ball to second base that resulted in a double play.
Nebraska added an insurance run in the ninth on a two-out infield single. Austin Christensen opened the frame with an infield single, then moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and a groundout. Darby stepped in and delivered the second infield single of the inning for his 28th RBI of the season.
With a 4-1 lead, Roeder closed the door in the ninth with a trio of strikeouts.
Following four straight road games, the Huskers return to Hawks Field this weekend for a three-game series against the Penn State Nittany Lions. The series opens at 6:35 p.m. on Friday night and will be broadcast statewide on NET.