LINCOLN, Neb. – The Omaha softball team dropped a pair of games to Western Illinois to open its Summit League season on Saturday. The Mavericks fell in the first game of the doubleheader, 5-3, before losing the second game 4-1 in eight innings.
UNO is now 9-22 (0-2 Summit League) on the season, while the Leathernecks improved to 12-20 (4-1 Summit League). The teams conclude the series with a single game on Sunday, April 2. First pitch is set for 11 a.m. at Bowlin Stadium in Lincoln, Neb., and links to live stats will be available on OMavs.com.
Game One – Western Illinois 5, Omaha 3
Western Illinois’ Emily Ira (6-10) earned the win, pitching a complete game while allowing three unearned runs on four hits and a walk with 13 strikeouts. Sophomore right-hander Laura Roecker (5-10) took the loss, giving up five runs – one earned – on six hits and five walks with five strikeouts over 7.0 innings of work.
Freshman Vicky Kinney finished 2-for-3 with a double and a three-run home run to lead Omaha at the plate.
Western Illinois took an early lead in the third inning on two hits. Holly Hoelting smacked a one-out double to center. Two batters later, Hoelting came in to score on Ira’s single to give the Leathernecks a 1-0.
WIU used a hit batter, a single and two illegal pitches to double its lead in the fifth. Nina Maggio took first base after being hit by a pitch and moved to second on Kelsey Marlow’s single. After a pitching change, the UNO relief pitcher had consecutive illegal pitches called allowing Maggio to score and put the Leathernecks ahead 2-0.
Omaha got on the board in the bottom of the sixth. Senior Nicole Warren walked and moved to second when junior Kelly Pattison reached on an error. Kinney then smashed the first pitch she saw over the left field fence to put Omaha on top 3-2.
The lead did not last long as the Leathernecks struck for three runs in the top of the seventh. After getting the first out of the inning, Hoelting was hit by a pitch, and Brooke Stulga reached on an error. Then Meghan Henson drew a two-out walk to load the bases. Halle Hollatz singled to right driving in two and following two UNO errors a third run crossed the plate to put Western Illinois in the lead, 5-3.
Ira struck out the final two batters she faced in the seventh to give the Leathernecks the victory in the opener.
Game Two – Western Illinois 4, Omaha 1 (8 innings)
The Leathernecks’ Brooke Stulga (5-5) picked up the win, keeping the Mavericks to one run on seven hits and one walk while striking out two in 8.0 innings of work. The loss went to senior right-hander Abbie Clanton (4-11), who surrendered four runs – two earned – on nine hits and a walk in 7.1 innings of work.
Omaha got on the board in the first inning. Warren worked a two-out walk and came around to score following back-to-back singles from Kelly Pattison and Kinney.
Western Illinois used three hits to tie the game in the top of the fifth. Stulga led off with a single to center and moved to second on Taylor Messner’s sacrifice bunt. Halle Hollatz then hit an RBI single to tie things up at 1-1.
The tie held until the eighth when Western Illinois scored three runs on five hits and an error to go ahead 4-1. The Leathernecks then held Omaha scoreless in the bottom half of the inning for the win.