OMAHA, Neb. -- Home runs made all the difference Saturday afternoon, as the Omaha baseball team defeated Western Illinois 4-2 at Seymour Smith Park. With the win, the Mavericks improve to 7-23 (5-6 Summit League), while the Leathernecks drop to 8-20 (5-6).
Sophomore Grant Suponchick (1-for-3, one run, one RBI) and senior Marcus Ethen (1-for-4, one run, two RBI) both homered in the game, and sophomore Parker Smejkal went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored.
Senior left-hander Sam Murphy (2-4) earned the win, allowing one run on seven hits and three walks with seven strikeouts. Preston Church (2-3) took the loss for WIU, giving up three runs on five hits and four walks with three strikeouts over 6.0 innings. Suponchick also picked up his first save of the year, limiting the Leathernecks to one run on three hits over the final 2.0 innings.
Western Illinois had 10 hits on the day, led by 3-for-4 plate efforts from Steve McShane and Mitch Ellis.
Omaha got on the board in the bottom of the first inning with one swing by Suponchick, who sent an 0-2 pitch over the left field fence for a solo homer – his second roundtripper of the season.
In the fourth, Smejkal got on with a two-out single to center and Ethen then blasted a two-run shot to left center on a 2-0 offering, which pushed Omaha's lead to 3-0.
WIU tallied its first run in the sixth, stringing together three hits. McShane and Adam McGinnis put up back-to-back singles to open the inning, and Johnathan Fleek later came up with an RBI single to left center, which drove in McShane and trimmed it to 3-1.
Omaha added an insurance run in the eighth. After loading the bases with two outs, pinch hitter Andrew Hall drew a four-pitch walk to score Smejkal for a 4-1 advantage.
The Leathernecks posted their last run in the ninth when an RBI single to left center by Ellis plated Dave Dobrinich, bringing the final score to 4-2.
Omaha and Western Illinois close their series on Sunday, April 9, with first pitch set for Noon at Seymour Smith Park. Links to live stats and audio will be available on OMavs.com.