SAN ANTONIO -- The Omaha baseball team saw a seven-run lead erased Friday night, as Incarnate Word scored eight unanswered runs to take this weekend's series opener 12-11 at Sullivan Field. The Mavericks are now 1-9 (0-0 Summit League) on the season, while the Cardinals improve to 6-5 (0-0 Southland).
Tyler Miller (1-0) earned the win in relief for UIW, throwing a scoreless, hitless eighth inning with one strikeout. Senior right-hander Shane Meltz (0-1) was tagged with the loss, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk with three strikeouts over 1.2 innings out of the bullpen. Lance Moszkowicz picked up his first save of the season and struck out three in the ninth inning.
Senior left-hander Sam Murphy threw 4.0 innings in his start, keeping UIW to four runs (three earned) on three hits and two walks with a season-high eight strikeouts.
At the plate, Omaha was led by junior Adam Caniglia's 3-for-5 night, as he doubled, scored three times and had two RBI. Sophomores Parker Smejkal and Jack Kalina also drove in three runs apiece.
Incarnate Word got a multi-hit performance from Kyler Genenbacher (2-for-2, two runs), while Sean Arnold scored once and drove in three more.
Omaha put together a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first, sparked by a leadoff single through the left side by sophomore Riley Herold, a Caniglia single to short and a walk by sophomore Grant Suponchick to load the bases. Smejkal then reached on a Cardinal fielding error to score Herold, and Kalina later worked a full-count walk to score Caniglia.
Incarnate Word equalized it in the bottom half of the inning, courtesy of an RBI triple down the right field line by Nico Garza. He then scored on a wild pitch, making it 2-2.
In the third, Omaha struck back for three runs on two hits and another UIW miscue in the field. With runners in scoring position, Kalina laced a two-run single to right, then scored when redshirt freshman Andrew Hall sent a sacrifice fly to right for a 5-2 Maverick lead.
The Cardinals got a run back in the bottom of the frame, courtesy of David Anaya's RBI single down the right field line to drive in Mark Whitehead. But Omaha stretched its lead to four in the fourth, plating two runs on two hits. After senior Sam Palensky led off with a 3-2 walk and Caniglia singled through the left side, Suponchick singled to third to score Palensky. Smejkal followed immediately with a sacrifice bunt to bring in Caniglia, which brought the tally to 7-3.
Incarnate Word again answered right away in the bottom half of the inning, as Tanner White was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to trim Omaha's edge to 7-4.
The Mavericks built a big inning in the fifth, posting four runs on two hits and three errors. After a pair of errors put freshman Mark Ehresman on third, a Hall single to right drove him in for Omaha's first run. Three batters later, Caniglia delivered a 3-1 pitch to center for a two-run triple that scored Herold and Hall. Suponchick then walked, and he later came across on a Caniglia sacrifice fly to right for an 11-4 advantage.
Incarnate Word then began its rally, striking back for five runs on three hits in the bottom of the fifth to pull within two at 11-9. The outburst was spurred by an RBI single by Kyle Bergeron, a three-run triple to right center by Arnold and an RBI fielder's choice.
The Cardinals chipped away again in the sixth when Genenbacher led off with a double to center and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Bryce Shepherd. In the eighth, Genenbacher again got on with a leadoff single through the right side, advanced on a sacrifice bunt and scored on an RBI single through the left side from Shepherd, which knotted the score at 11-11. After a four-pitch walk by Arnold and a Maverick pitching change, Lee Thomas singled in Shepherd for the winning run, which held through the ninth for a 12-11 final score.
Omaha and Incarnate Word resume their series on Saturday, March 4, with first pitch set for 3 p.m. at Sullivan Field in San Antonio, Texas. Links to live video, audio and stats will be available on OMavs.com.