The Omaha baseball team kicked off Summit League play on Sunday, sweeping South Dakota State 10-2 and 7-6 in a doubleheader at the Ballpark at Boys Town. With the wins, the Mavericks improve to 12-9 (2-0 Summit League), while the Jackrabbits drop to 12-14 (1-3 Summit League).
Senior Caleb Palensky was 6-for-7 on the day with two doubles, a home run, three runs scored and three RBI. Sophomore Clayton Taylor also had four hits for the afternoon with two home runs, three runs scored and six runs driven in.
Senior Dylan Casey came through in the clutch in the second game, as he pinch hit with two outs and the bases loaded, coming up with the game-winning hit to secure the victory.
GAME 1 -- OMAHA 10, SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 2
In the opening game, Palensky went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two more driven in, while sophomore Alex Schultz was 2-for-3, scored twice and had an RBI. Senior Brett Bass also had a pair of hits, two runs scored and another driven in, while Taylor was 1-for-4 with his first homer of the day.
Sophomore Tyler Fox (4-1) picked up the win, allowing two runs on six hits over 6.0 innings. The Thornton, Colo., native struck out six and walked two. The loss went to Chris Anderson (1-3), who surrendered seven runs -- six earned -- off eight hits and struck out four.
The Mavs got things started in the bottom of the second, as Splichal led off with a single to center and later scored on a Collin Leif single through the right side. SDSU then tied it at 1-1 in the fourth with Aaron Machbitz's solo homer to left.
The stall was short-lived, however, as Omaha came back for three runs on three hits in the later half of the inning. Bass had a leadoff single to right center, and Palensky doubled off the left field wall to put two on for Splichal, whose sacrifice bunt allowed Bass to score and put Palensky on third. Junior Daniel Jewett's RBI single to left plated Palensky, and Jewett then scored with the help of an SDSU error, making it 4-1.
UNO added another four runs on four hits in the fifth. Sophomore Cole Gruber singled to short, then scored on Schultz's RBI double to the left field corner. Schultz came in with a Bass single to left, prompting SDSU to relieve its starter with Ethen Kenkel. His first batter faced was Palensky, who sent a two-run home run to right center to push it to 8-1.
The Jackrabbits added a run in the sixth with Michael Finocchiaro's leadoff solo homer. Omaha tacked on two more runs in the bottom half of the inning, with Taylor delivering a two-run round-tripper to bring the final score to 10-2.
GAME 2 -- OMAHA 7, SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 6
Taylor and Palensky led the offensive charge again in game two, with Palensky finishing 4-for-4 with a double, a run scored and an RBI. Taylor was 3-for-5 with four runs driven in while scoring another two himself, tallying his second homer of the day with two doubles.
South Dakota State took an early lead with one run in the top of the first and another pair of runs in the second for a 3-0 lead.
The Mavericks evened it at 3-3 in the bottom of the third. Jewett led off with a single through the right side and advanced on a wild pitch, then scored when Gruber reached on a fielding error. A two-out, two-run double to left center by Taylor scored Gruber and Schultz, making it 3-3.
Taylor's solo homer in the fifth put Omaha up 4-3 before SDSU tied it again at 4-4 with Eric Danforth's sacrifice fly to left to score Jake Ratz. The Jackrabbits then surged ahead 6-4 in the seventh on Machbitz's two-run home run over the wall in left center.
Omaha knotted the game once more in the seventh, notching two runs on two hits. Schultz scored on a Taylor double down the left field line, and Taylor later scored on Palensky's RBI single through the right side, bringing the score to 6-6.
It came down to the bottom of the ninth for the Mavericks, who got it rolling with Palensky's one-out double to right, and he advanced to third on the same play on an SDSU fielding error. Splichal and Jewett were both intentionally walked to load the bases, and reliever Andrew Clemen struck out pinch hitter Tyler Biggs for the second out. Senior Dylan Casey then pinch hit and delivered an RBI single through the left side, scoring Palensky for the 7-6 walkoff win.
Senior Anthony Falcone (1-1) recorded the win in relief, holding SDSU scoreless in the final two-thirds of an inning. Clemen (1-1) was tagged with the loss, giving up one run on four hits with three strikeouts and two walks.
Omaha returns to action on Tuesday, April 1, hosting Kansas State at Werner Park. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m