OMAHA, Neb. — The Omaha baseball team assured itself of its third straight weekend series win Friday afternoon, sweeping a doubleheader with South Dakota State 5-3 and 8-5 at Seymour Smith Park. The Mavericks are now 11-14 (7-1 Summit League) on the season, while the Jackrabbits drop to 3-19 (1-5).
GAME 1 — OMAHA 5, SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 3
Joey Machado (3-3) picked up his third consecutive mound victory in the opening game, going 6.0 innings and allowing three runs on seven hits and three walks with five strikeouts. The loss went to SDSU starter Brady Moxham (0-4), who gave up four runs on six hits and three walks while striking out six over 5.0 innings. Cal Hehnke earned his second save, throwing 3.0 shutout innings with two hits and two strikeouts.
SDSU struck first with a run in the third when Tony Kjolsing singled in Skyler Wenninger.
Omaha caught up and took the lead with a three-run, four-hit fifth inning. Consecutive singles to left by Adam Caniglia and Max Gamm put runners aboard, and Thomas DeBonville later sent a two-out single up the middle to plate both for a 2-1 lead. Two batters later, Keil Krumwiede singled through the right side to score DeBonville, which pushed the Maverick advantage to 3-1.
The Jackrabbits tied it at 3-3 in the sixth with RBI singles from Wenninger and Gus Steiger. But Omaha immediately responded with another run in the bottom half of the frame. Daugherty led off with a triple to left, then came in on an RBI groundout by Ben Palensky to make it 4-3.
The Mavericks added an insurance run in the eighth, as Daugherty walked, stole second, advanced on a wild pitch and scored when Caniglia reached on an error to extend the lead to 5-3. Hehnke finished off SDSU with a one-two-three top of the ninth to seal the win.
GAME 2 — OMAHA 8, SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 5
Andrew Brighton (2-1) picked up the win in relief in the second game, throwing 4.1 innings with one run on five hits and a walk with a strikeout. Starter Brady Stover (0-1) was tagged with the loss, surrendering five runs on five hits and two walks with seven strikeouts. Tommy Steier recorded his team-leading third save of the year.
Braden Rogers led the Mavericks offensively, going 2-for-4 with a run scored and three more driven in, including his first home run of the season. Parker Smejkal (2-for-3, one run, one RBI) also had a multi-hit day.
SDSU again scored first thanks to Newt Johnson’s two-run home run in the third.
Omaha came back for a four-run fourth inning, sparked by a solo homer to left by DeBonville to lead it off. After Grant Suponchick drew a four-pitch walk, he came in on Smejkal’s RBI double to left center, and Rogers followed with a two-run shot to left that pushed it to 4-2.
SDSU knotted the game in the fifth with a pair of runs stemming from Josh Falk’s double down the left field line for a 4-4 lock.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Mavericks regained the lead, 5-4, when Gamm scored on a wild pitch. They plated another run in the sixth with an RBI single to right center from Rogers, which brought home Krumwiede for a 6-4 edge.
Omaha scored in its fourth straight inning in the seventh, adding two runs on two hits. With runners in scoring position and two outs, Krumwiede sent a two-run double to left center that scored DeBonville and Daugherty and made it 8-4.
SDSU then threatened in the ninth, opening with a single and a double to put runners in scoring position. A Kjolsing sacrifice fly scored Landon Badger, and an infield single put runners on the corners before Omaha turned to Steier out of the bullpen. After a walk loaded the bases, the Mavericks buckled down for a popup and a lineout to end the game at 8-5.
Omaha concludes its series with the Jackrabbits on Saturday, March 31, with first pitch set for 2 p.m. at Seymour Smith Park.