PAPILLION, Neb. -- The Omaha baseball team welcomed crosstown rival Creighton for the Mavericks' 2017 home finale Tuesday evening, falling 7-5 at Werner Park. UNO is now 12-33 on the season, while the Bluejays improve to 22-18.
The win went to CU reliever Ethan DeCaster (4-1), who threw 1.2 innings and allowed one hit and one walk with a strikeout. The loss went to junior James Smith (0-4), who surrendered two runs on two hits with no walks and a strikeout in one inning of work. David Gerber picked up his fifth save of the season with a one-hit ninth inning, becoming CU's all-time saves leader.
Omaha used 11 pitchers in the game, and its 10 relievers tied for the fourth-most in a Division I game in NCAA history.
Senior Sam Palensky finished 2-for-5 with a run scored to lead the Mavericks, while junior Ryan Cate was 1-for-4 with a run and two RBI.
Creighton struck first, opening the game to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Thomas Luevano got on with a double to the right field corner and scored on a two-out RBI single to left by Will Robertson.
The Jays then extended it to a three-run advantage in the third. A walk by Isaac Collins and a single by Luevano put two on for Michael Emodi, who singled through the left side to plate Collins. Robertson followed with a sacrifice fly by Robertson, which scored Luevano and pushed it to 3-0.
Omaha chalked up its first two runs of the night in the bottom half of the inning. Junior Adam Caniglia worked a full-count leadoff walk and Palensky doubled to right center to put runners in scoring position for freshman Cole Thibodeau, whose sacrifice bunt brought in Caniglia. An RBI groundout by Cate then scored Palensky, cutting it to 3-2.
CU rebuilt its lead to three in the fifth, using a two-run homer to right by Robertson to go up 5-2.
The Mavericks came back for two runs on a pair of hits in the sixth, again making it a one-run ballgame. Singles to left by Cate and sophomore Grant Suponchick put runners on, and a balk put both in scoring position. Cate then crossed via a passed ball, and an RBI groundout by senior Marcus Ethen drove in Suponchick to trim the score to 5-4.
In the seventh, Caniglia drew a one-out walk, advanced on a Palensky single to right and a Thibodeau walk and crossed with Cate's sacrifice fly to center, putting the game in a 5-5 deadlock.
CU loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth with singles by Luevano and Robertson and a Jason Allbery walk, but a fielder's choice ended the threat. In Omaha's half of the frame, junior Cole Patterson sent a one-out single to center but was stranded after the Jays got out of the inning with a flyout and a strikeout.
The 5-5 tie held until the ninth when Parker Upton led off the inning with an infield single and Luevano came up with a two-out, two-run homer off the right field foul pole, putting the Jays in the lead for the final time. Omaha managed a leadoff single by Caniglia in the bottom of the ninth, but CU held off the charge to seal the game at 7-5.
CU was led by a 4-for-6 night from Luevano, who scored three times and drove in a pair of runs. Robertson was also 3-for-4, scored once and registered four RBI.
Omaha resumes Summit League play on Friday, May 12, visiting league leader Oral Roberts. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. in Tulsa, Okla., and links to live stats, audio and video will be available on OMavs.com.