OMAHA, Neb. - Grant Suponchick pitched three shutout innings in relief and Omaha scored in the late innings as the Summit League-leading Mavericks downed South Dakota State, 5-2, in the opening game of a three-game baseball series Friday afternoon at Seymour Smith Park.
Omaha improved to 25-11-1 overall and widened its lead over the Jackrabbits and Oral Roberts to six games with a 17-2 mark in league play. SDSU dropped to 19-17 overall and 11-8 in The Summit League.
SDSU came up with some clutch hits to take a 2-1 lead in the early going. The Jackrabbits scored the first run of the game in the top of the second as Derek Hackman hit a two-out double and scored on Landon Badger's single up the middle.
After Omaha tied the game with an unearned run in the bottom of the third, the Jackrabbits regained the lead with a run in the fourth. Logan Holtz led off with a walk, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Drew Beazley's two-out double to left field.
The Mavericks tied the game at 2-all in the home half of the fourth, taking advantage of a leadoff walk to Brett Bonar and ensuing balk. Bonar later scored on a groundout.
Omaha took its first lead of the game in the sixth with its own two-out rally. Max Gamm tripled to the left-center gap off SDSU starter Tyler Olmstead and later scampered home on a wild pitch.
Bonar and Parker Smejkal hit back-to-back doubles to start the Omaha eighth to push the Maverick lead to 4-2, with pinch-runner Tyler Daugherty scoring the fifth and final run on another wild pitch.
The Jackrabbits tallied at least one hit in every inning but the eighth, out-hitting the Mavericks by a 10-9 count as Nick Smith led all players with three hits in four trips to the plate. However, SDSU couldn't solve Suponchick, who entered the game in the sixth and struck out two over his three scoreless frames.
Cal Hehnke pitched a scoreless ninth to earn the save.
Olmstead took the loss for the Jackrabbits despite working into the eighth. The junior right-hander struck out two and walked two. Of the five runs he allowed, only three were earned.
Omaha starter Joey Machado struck out five and walked two over five innings.
Braden Eckhout and Jack Lombardi each tallied two hits for the Mavericks.
The two teams are scheduled to play the middle game of their three-game series at 2 p.m. Saturday.
• Omaha leads the season series, 4-0, and the all-time series, 86-78-1
• Smith's three hits included his first two doubles of the season
• Smith has tallied 11 hits over the Jackrabbits' last five games, posting back-to-back three-hit efforts in taking over the team lead in batting average at .312
• Smith now has 178 career hits as he continues his quest to become the 19th player in SDSU baseball history to reach the 200-hit milestone
• Gus Steiger reached on a bunt single in the first inning to extend his streak of reaching base safely to 31 games
• Olmstead has pitched at least 6 1/3 innings in all seven of his starts against Summit League foes this season