The Omaha baseball team picked up a win in its final non-conference game on Tuesday night, defeating Iowa, 6-5, at Duane Banks Field. The Mavericks improved to 19-20 (12-4 Summit League), while the Hawkeyes dropped to 17-26 (5-13 Big Ten).
The game was the rubber match in a five-game season series against Iowa, which Omaha took, 3-2.
Redshirt freshman Clayton Taylor finished a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate with his first career home run and two runs scored. Senior Ryan Keele, junior Caleb Palensky and sophomore Alex Mortensen all went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI, and freshman Cole Gruber was 2-for-2 with an RBI.
Senior Cory Buckley also went 1-for-4 with an RBI, extending his team-leading hitting streak to 16 games.
As a team, Omaha totaled 14 hits to Iowa’s nine. The Hawkeyes were led by Taylor Kaufman, who was 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored, and Anthony Torres, who went 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI.
Sophomore Cole Volkers (1-2) earned the win in relief, allowing one run on two hits over 3.2 innings. Volkers held the Hawkeyes scoreless in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, finishing with four strikeouts for the night. The loss went to Josh Martsching (0-2), who surrendered five runs (four earned) on five hits and three walks in 2.1 innings of work. Senior Derek Landis recorded his sixth save of the year, tossing the last 1.1 innings with three strikeouts.
UNO got on the board early with a run in the top of the first, as junior Brett Bass scored on Buckley’s sacrifice fly to center. Taylor led off the second inning, delivering a solo homer to right to push it to 2-0. Palensky later came in on Mortensen’s sacrifice fly, extending the lead to 3-0.
The Mavericks added two more runs in the third, as Keele was plated on an RBI single up the middle from Palensky, and Taylor scored on Gruber’s RBI single to the same spot. In the fourth, Mortensen led off with a single to right and later crossed on Keele’s RBI single up the middle, helping Omaha take a commanding 6-0 lead.
Iowa came back for four runs on four hits in the bottom of the fourth, making it 6-4. Volkers, who entered the game to relieve starter Marcus Ethen in the fifth, held the Hawkeyes scoreless and limited them to just three hits until the eighth. In that inning, Kaufman scored on an RBI single to center from Bryan Niedbalski, pulling within one at 6-5.
In the bottom of the ninth, Landis struck out Iowa’s first two pinch hitters before Eric Toole doubled down the left field line to put the tying run in scoring position. The threat went unfulfilled, however, as Landis got Nick Roscetti looking for the final out to seal the Mavericks’ 6-5 road victory.
Omaha returns to action on Friday, May 10, traveling to Oakland to kick off its final away series of the season. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. (CT) in Rochester, Mich., and a link to live stats will be available on OMavs.com.