PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – The Omaha baseball team recorded two wins at the Snowbird Classic on Friday, defeating Villanova, 2-1, and Chicago State, 13-10. With the wins, the Mavericks improve to 3-4 (0-0 Summit League).
Sophomores Cole Gruber and Alex Schultz led Omaha’s hit parade with a combined 14 hits. Both had seven hits in the doubleheader, including five apiece against Chicago State in game two alone.
GAME 1 – OMAHA 2, VILLANOVA 1 Gruber and Schultz each recorded a pair of hits and drove in a run in the Mavericks’ first game of the day, and Tyler Splichal and Justin Threlkeld each had a hit and a run scored.
The win went to Zach Williamsen (1-0), who picked up his first win of the season in a 4.1-inning outing. Williamsen allowed one run on three hits while striking out seven. The loss went to Josh Harris (0-3) after he surrendered two runs off seven hits in 5.1 innings of work.
The Mavericks got solid relief out of Dylan Casey, who threw 3.2 scoreless innings with no hits, three strikeouts and a walk. Josh Bullock closed it out for UNO, picking up his first save after retiring VU’s three batters in the ninth.
Omaha scored all the runs it needed in the top of the second. Splichal led off the inning with a single on a 3-2 count, and Threlkeld singled behind him to put two on. Suiter then laid down a sacrifice bunt to put both runners in scoring position, and a two-out RBI single by Gruber plated UNO’s first run. Schultz then had another RBI single to score Threlkeld, putting the Mavs up 2-0.
Villanova countered with one run in the fifth, but Omaha held the Wildcats scoreless for the last four innings to take the 2-1 win. GAME 2 – OMAHA 13, CHICAGO STATE 10 Game two proved a slugfest, as Omaha and Chicago State combined for 23 runs on 39 hits.
Gruber and Schultz again paced the Mavericks, as Gruber went 5-for-6 with four runs and two RBI, while Schultz was 5-for-6 with three runs scored and three more driven in. Splichal also went 4-for-5, and Bass was 2-for-4 with three RBI.
Sam Murphy (1-0) picked up the win in relief, holding CSU to just one hit over 2.1 scoreless innings. The Lake Worth, Fla., native struck out four and walked one for the afternoon. The loss went to Ean McNeal (1-1), who allowed nine runs on 12 hits with a pair of Ks.
Omaha took the first lead of the game with a quick 2-0 advantage in the bottom of the first. Chicago State then went up 3-2 in the third before the Mavs countered with two runs in later half of the frame to make it 4-3.
A five-run top of the fourth spotted the Cougars an 8-4 lead, but Omaha came back for five runs on eight hits in the bottom half of the inning, going up 9-8. The Mavericks then plated two runs in both the fifth and sixth innings, extending their lead to 13-8. CSU managed two runs in the seventh, but were kept scoreless in the last two innings for a final score of 13-10.
Omaha closes its week at the Snowbird Classic on Saturday morning, facing Western Michigan at 9 a.m. (CT) in Port Charlotte, Fla.