Junior Cole Patterson
Courtesy: Omaha Athletics

Mavericks Falter in Twinbill With UNC, 9-4 and 7-3

Omaha Athletics | March 09, 2017

OMAHA, Neb. -- The Omaha baseball team made its home debut at Seymour Smith Park Thursday afternoon, falling 9-4 and 7-3 in a doubleheader with Northern Colorado. The Mavericks are now 1-14 (0-0 Summit League) on the year, while the Bears improve to 8-9 (0-0 WAC).

UNC jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the third before Omaha struck back for a run in the bottom half of the inning. Freshman Cole Thibodeau led off with a single through the right side, advanced on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Jack Kalina and scored on sophomore Riley Herold's RBI single through the right side for a 2-1 tally.

The Bears added a run in the fourth to make it 3-1, but Omaha swiftly evened it in the bottom of the frame with two runs on three hits. Redshirt freshman Andrew Hall and junior Cole Patterson both singled, and Thibodeau reached on a fielder's choice to load the bases with one out. After Kalina reached on a fielder's choice, Hall scored, and Herold followed with an RBI double to right center to drive in Patterson at 3-3.

The Mavericks then took the lead in the sixth, as Herold was plunked with a pitch, moved to third on a single by senior Sam Palensky and came in with junior Ryan Cate's sacrifice fly to center for a 4-3 advantage.

The lead held until the eighth, when Northern Colorado exploded for six runs on six hits and an error to shoot ahead 9-4. The Bears then held Omaha scoreless for the final two innings.

UNC reliever Troy Watson (2-1) picked up the win, keeping the Mavericks to one run on two hits and three walks while striking out five over 3.2 innings of work. The loss went to sophomore right-hander Cal Hehnke (0-1), who surrendered six runs on five hits in a third of an inning.

Hall finished 3-for-4 with a run scored to lead Omaha offensively, while Herold was 2-for-4, scored once and drove in a pair of runs.

Omaha got on the board first in the second inning of the second game, with Palensky scoring on a sacrifice bunt by Ethen for a quick 1-0 edge.

UNC, however, capitalized in the third to build a four-run lead. The Bears’ five-run, four-hit spurt was sparked by a two-run double down the left field line by Evan Johnson.

The Mavericks tallied a run of their own in the third when Thibodeau got on with a single to right, stole second and came across via Cate's RBI single to center. They added another in the fourth, as junior Adam Caniglia walked to start it off and eventually scored on a Thibodeau RBI infield single, which made it 5-3.

UNC pushed across a run in both the fifth and the sixth frames and limited Omaha to three hits over the last five innings, capping the game at 7-3.

Aaron Hamilton (2-1) earned the win for UNC, allowing three runs on seven hits and three walks with four strikeouts in his 6.0-inning start. Junior right-hander Corey Binger (1-3) was tagged with the loss, giving up six runs (four earned) on five hits and two walks while fanning six over 5.0 innings.

Thibodeau finished 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI, and sophomore Nate Mallott was 2-for-3.

Omaha and Northern Colorado were scheduled to play a third game in the series Friday at 1 p.m. at Seymour Smith Park, but the contest has been postponed due to forecasted cold temperatures. A determination on updated game information will be made at a later time.



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