UNO clinched a share of the Summit League regular-season title Thursday afternoon by shutting out South Dakota State 6-0 at the Ballpark at Boys Town.
By assuring itself of at least a share of the league title with SDSU, the Mavs locked up the first conference championship of any UNO team in Division I competition. In their first season as a member of the Summit League and second year as a Division I team, the Mavericks were picked last in the preseason coaches' poll before opening league play 8-0 and maintaining first place in the standings for the remainder of the season.
With three games left in the UNO-SDSU weekend series, Omaha now needs just one more win over the Jackrabbits to win the regular-season championship outright.
Two pitchers combined on the shutout, led by starter Tyler Fox (6-2), who threw 7.0 scoreless innings, limiting South Dakota State to three singles with five strikeouts. Cory Buckley entered the game in the eighth inning, holding SDSU to a single with a pair of strikeouts.
The loss went to SDSU starter Layne Somsen (4-4), who allowed five runs (four earned) off 10 hits over 5.0 innings. Somsen struck out five without issuing a walk.
Omaha jumped out to 1-0 lead in the first as Clayton Taylor led off with a single and later scored on Ryan Keele's single. The Mavericks added another run in the third when Buckley led off with a double, advanced to third on an error and scored on a ground out from Keele.
UNO plated two more in the fourth inning. Brett Bass came in on a double by Alex Schultz and two batters later Taylor singled in Schultz to extend the lead to 4-0.
In the fifth, Tyler Splichal scored on a bunt by Caleb Palensky. The final tally came in the eighth as a pinch-hitter Connor McCrite delivered a lead-off double and later scored on Keele's sacrifice fly.
The Mavericks improved to 25-21 (18-5 Summit League) while the Jackrabbits dropped to 30-19 (15-8 Summit League).