OMAHA, Neb. -- The Omaha baseball team completed a three-game series sweep of Air Force with a doubleheader on Saturday, earning a 9-3 win in game one and a 3-1 triumph in game two. The Mavericks move to 8-8 (0-0 Summit League), while the Falcons drop to 4-13 on the year.
GAME 1 -- OMAHA 9, AIR FORCE 3 Junior Zach Williamsen (1-1) earned the win, striking out a career-high eight batters in his season-long 7.0-inning effort. Williamsen allowed three runs -- two earned -- on six hits and issued no walks.
The loss went to Air Force starter Griffin Jax (1-4), who gave up seven runs on 10 hits with four walks and two strikeouts.
Senior Caleb Palensky led the Mavericks with three hits, three RBI and a run scored. Sophomore Clayton Taylor finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two more driven in. Junior Daniel Jewett joined him at 2-for-3 at the plate with two RBI, and both tallied a triple for the day.
Sophomores Cole Gruber and Alex Schultz also scored a pair of runs apiece. As a team, Omaha notched 13 hits in the game.
Omaha jumped on top early with a four-hit, four-run first inning. Gruber got on with a leadoff walk, and two batters later, Taylor singled to left. With two outs, Palensky delivered an RBI single to left to score Gruber, and senior Tyler Splichal followed with an RBI single to center that brought in Taylor. Jewett then added a two-run triple to left center, making it 4-0.
Air Force came back for a run in the top of the second to cut it to 4-1. In the bottom half of the inning, the Mavs added another three runs. Gruber singled to short and stole second, then moved to third on a Schultz single to short. Taylor came up with a two-run triple down the right field line and was later scored with Palensky's RBI single to second to push it to 7-1.
The Falcons scored a pair of runs in the fourth to pull it to 7-3, before Omaha finished it off with two runs in the bottom of the eighth. Freshman Tyler Biggs started it off with a walk, and a sacrifice bunt by Gruber put Biggs on second. Schultz then reached on a fielding error, putting runners on the corners, before pinch-hitting sophomore Andrew Dergan reached on another error to score Biggs. Senior Brett Bass singled to the pitcher to load the bases, and a Palensky single to right plated Schultz to bring the final score to 9-3.
GAME 2 -- OMAHA 3, AIR FORCE 1 (7 inn.) Gruber led the way with a 2-for-3 effort and a run scored in the second game, and Bass was 1-for-3 with two RBI.
Sophomore Marcus Ethen (2-1) got the win, allowing one run on three hits over 6.0 innings with a pair of strikeouts and two walks. Bo Wilson (0-1) took the loss, giving up three runs on five hits with three strikeouts and two walks.
Senior Josh Bullock (2) earned his second save of the season, helping shut down Air Force in order in the final inning.
Omaha scored early again in game two, posting two runs on two hits in the first inning. Bass delivered with a two-run single up the middle to score Taylor and Schultz, putting Omaha ahead 2-0.
The Mavericks added another run in the third, when Gruber led off with a triple down the right field line and scored on Taylor's sacrifice bunt.
Air Force notched its only run in the sixth, when Spencer Draws scored on a David Thomas double down the left field line. Bullock entered the game for the final inning, though, retiring three Falcons in order to end it.
Omaha returns to action March 18-20, facing Dartmouth for a three-game midweek series in Lawrence, Kan.