PAPILLION, Neb. -- The Omaha baseball team dropped its first of two meetings with in-state foe Nebraska Wednesday night, falling 3-1 at Werner Park. The Mavericks are now 6-22 on the season, while the Huskers improve to 17-10-1.
Jake McSteen (2-0) earned the win, throwing an inning of hitless, scoreless relief with one walk and one strikeout. The loss went to James Smith (0-2), who gave up one run on two hits with no walks and two strikeouts over 4.0 innings of work. Chad Luensmann picked up his fifth save of the year, holding Omaha scoreless over the final 2.1 innings, striking out two.
Sophomore Parker Smejkal was 1-for-4 at the plate, driving in Omaha's only run. Scott Schreiber led the way for Nebraska, going 2-for-2 with an RBI.
The Huskers built a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Jake Meyers drew a one-out walk, stole second and came in via Schreiber's RBI single through the right side. Ben Miller followed with a single to left, but the Mavericks worked their way out of the jam with a 5-3 double play.
After starter Shane Meltz retired NU in order with two strikeouts and a flyout in the top of the second frame, Omaha evened the game at 1-1 in the bottom half of the inning. The Mavericks capitalized on back-to-back miscues by NU, and Smejkal's one-out base knock to left scored Cate to make it 1-1.
Omaha managed to load the bases in the third and sixth innings, but Nebraska shut down the threat both times. The Mavericks stranded nine runners over the final six frames.
Nebraska finally broke the 1-1 tie in the seventh, as Luke Roskam led off the inning with a single to right. Jake Schleppenbach then sent a one-out single to left center to advance pinch runner Alex Henwood to third, and Henwood scored on a wild pitch to put NU ahead 2-1.
The Huskers tacked on an insurance run in the ninth, spurred by Brison Cronenbold drawing a one-out walk and advancing to third on a Mojo Hagge single to right. Schleppenbach then pushed in Cronenbold with an RBI fielder's choice, as Omaha was unable to turn the double play to get out of the inning.
The Mavericks threatened a final time in the ninth when senior Sam Palensky was plunked with a pitch, but Luensmann used two strikeouts and a groundout to finish it off for Nebraska.
Omaha continues its homestand this weekend, welcoming Western Illinois on Friday, April 7. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. at Seymour Smith Park, and links to live stats and audio will be available on OMavs.com.