GLENDALE, Ariz. – Omaha baseball opened the season with a 5-4 win over Northwestern behind a quartet of runs in the sixth inning Friday evening at Camelback Ranch.
The Mavericks (1-0) and the Wildcats (0-1) combined for 21 hits in the series opener. Omaha has now beaten a Power Five school in the series opening weekend the last three seasons. The Mavericks defeated USC in game three for last year’s season-opener and took two of three from Northwestern in 2017.
LEADERS FOR OMAHA
Jack Lombardi tallied three RBI on a 1-for-4 effort on his double in the sixth. Harrison Denk went 3-for-5, while the duo of Breyden Eckhout and Keil Krumwiede registered two hits apiece. Krumwiede also had an RBI. On the mound, Joey Machado tossed 4.1 innings in the start with seven hits and three earned runs allowed. He also had four strikeouts. Jackson Gordon earned his first-career win (1-0) with 2.0 innings and fanned three batters with two hits and one run allowed. Tanner Howe went 1.2 innings with a hit allowed, while Jacob Mohler notched his first-career save with a shutout ninth inning.
INSIDE THE INNINGS
Omaha got on the board when Eckhout singled and stole second in the fourth inning. Two batters later, Krumwiede was able to single for an RBI and scored Eckhout for the first run of the game. Later on in the bottom of the same inning, Northwestern evened the score at 1-1 with a solo homer to left field.
Another two-run shot by the Wildcats in the bottom of the fifth gave them a 3-1 lead over Omaha. The deficit, however, did not waiver the Mavericks as they cut the Northwestern lead to one (3-2) after Parker Smejkal scored on a wild pitch. After Grant Goldston was walked and Chris Esposito was hit by a pitch, that loaded the bases for Lombardi. The Park Ridge, Ill., native blasted a three-RBI double to left center and put the Mavericks back ahead, 5-3.
In the next inning, Omaha loaded the bases once again but could not come away with a run. Northwestern cut the Mavericks lead to one (5-4) on a double. In the Maverick bullpen, Howe and Mohler combined for 2.2 shutout innings of work and closed out the game for the win.
Omaha and Northwestern return to action on Saturday at 1 p.m. for the second game of the series.