UNO Sweeps Western Illinois Remain Perfect in League Play

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UNO Athletics Omaha completed its third-consecutive Summit League series sweep with 4-3 and 15-5 wins over Western Illinois in the Sunday doubleheader.

Courtesy Omaha Athletics

The Mavericks are now 17-6-1 and a perfect 9-0 mark in league play. Western Illinois drops to 8-17 and 2-8 in conference action. In the first game, Matt Bondarchuk led the way with 2-for-5 hitting and two RBI, while Breyden Eckhout nearly missed out on the cycle in game two with a single, a double and a triple along with two RBI and three hits. He also had one walk and a stolen base in the series finale. Eckhout also registered three hits in the first game which gave him six total on the day. Brett Bonar had two hits and seven RBI with a home run in the series finale.

GAME ONE
The Mavericks won on a Bondarchuk walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth. Payton Kinney tossed 7.0 shutout innings with eight strikeouts and one hit allowed. Cal Hehnke picked up the win and improved to 1-1 with three batters fanned, while Western Illinois' Austin Emmanuel had the loss and falls to 1-1. WIU's starter Javin Drake had 10 strikeouts with seven hits and two runs allowed.

Omaha got on the board in the bottom of the third after Bondarchuk stole second and Eckhout advanced from third and beat the throw to home. The Mavericks put themselves in scoring position later on in the fourth after Ben Palensky and Braden Rogers singled, but both were left on base.

The Leathernecks put a runner in scoring position on a single up the middle, but Kinney was able to retire the side as he notched his fourth strikeout to leave the runner on base and preserve the Mavericks' lead. Omaha plated its next run to go up 2-0 after Eckhout scored unearned as he advanced from third on Bondarchuk's groundout RBI.

Omaha found itself in a jam at the top of the sixth when Western had runners on second and third, but Kinney was able to dig deep and get out of the inning as he struck the batter out looking. Eckhout gave Omaha momentum once again as he notched his third hit of the game with a double, but he was stranded on base in the bottom of the seventh.

Western got on the board on a fielder's choice RBI in the top of the eighth that cut Omaha's lead at 2-1. Two batters later, a two-out single up the middle tied it all up at 2-2. Western eventually took the lead with another single down the middle that scored the runner from second. Omaha tied it up in the bottom of the eighth off Palensky's double off the left-center wall that scored the pinch runner Max Gamm. After a wild pitch, Palensky moved to third and Rogers was walked at the plate. The bases were loaded after DeBonville was walked, but Eckhout flied out to right which closed out the eighth.

In the top of the ninth, Omaha was able to get a flyout and a pair of Hehnke strikeouts. In the bottom of the inning, Lombardi was walked then put himself in scoring position on a passed ball. He then reached third on a wild pitch with no outs. Cue up Bondarchuk, who launched a walk-off single to center that plated Lombardi for the 4-3 win.

GAME TWO
The Mavericks closed out the sweep with a win in the second game off a sixth-inning surge. Spencer Koelewyn tossed five strikeouts with six walks allowed through 5.0 innings. In relief, Jacob Mohler earned his first-career win (1-1) with four strikeouts on 1.2 innings of work. WIU's Jack Carberry fell to 3-1 on the season.

Western got on the board first with a walk after the bases were loaded. Omaha tied it up off Eckhout's double to left center that plated Josiah Scott. Bonar followed up as a pinch hitter and blasted a sacrifice fly to right that scored Eckhout, which gave Omaha a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third.

In the bottom of the fourth, the Mavericks went up 3-1 on a Rogers sacrifice fly that plated Palensky. Omaha increased its lead at 4-1 after a sacrifice fly from Bonar that scored Eckhout, who tripled earlier.

Western regained a 5-4 lead in the top of the sixth after Deion Thompson rocketed a one-out grand slam over the left-center fence.

Later that inning, Parker Smejkal gave the Mavericks a boost with a double down the left field line. That set up Rogers, who posted a single-RBI to right that evened up the score at 5-all. Cue DeBonville, who stepped up and notched a stand-up triple that gave Omaha a 6-5 lead. A fielder's choice-RBI by Eckhout scored DeBonville, which made it 7-5 Mavericks. The lead increased at 9-5 when Bonar ripped a two-RBI single to left. A few batters later with the bases loaded, Smejkal was walked and made it 10-5. The seventh run in the inning happened on a wild pitch that plated Krumwiede.

In the bottom of the seventh, Bonar launched a three-run shot out of the park that made it 14-5. The final run came in the bottom of the eighth on another Western wild pitch that scored DeBonville and ended the game at 15-5.

UP NEXT
Omaha welcomes in-town foe Creighton for a 6:35 p.m. first pitch this Wednesday, April 3, at Werner Park. The team then hits the road next weekend for a three-game Summit League series at South Dakota State April 5-7. For links and more information, visit OMavs.com.