Western Courier

Necks cool down against Mavericks

C.J. Schaeffer stares down the pitcher.

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C.J. Schaeffer stares down the pitcher.

Chris Bean, Courier Staff

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MACOMB, Ill. — Western Illinois University hosted the University of Nebraska Omaha on Friday at Alfred D. Boyer Stadium. The Mavericks defeated the Leathernecks 8-5, after three runs in the seventh inning, to break the tie at five.

The Purple and Gold came in hot after winning its first ever series against Oral Roberts last weekend and beating SIU-E on Wednesday. Unfortunately, it did not correlate on Friday in the loss to the Mavericks. With the win, Omaha improved to 8-4 in the Summit League, just a half a game behind Oral Roberts for first place. They picked up their first road win of the year and improved to 12-18 overall. Western drops to 7-20 overall, and 5-6 in conference play.

Junior Ian Koch got the start for the Leathernecks. He came off a dominant start last weekend against Oral Roberts but struggled on Friday. Koch only pitched three innings, giving up five hits on four earned runs. He was also very wild walking five batters and hitting two batters. Omaha was able to score early, getting one run in the first. They exploded in the second, getting three runs in the second. The double off the bat of sophomore Cole Thibodeau scored two runners to make it 4-1 Omaha. The next inning did not get better at all for Koch, throwing 19 balls in the top of the third, but somehow limited the damage to only one run. With the wild inning, it forced manager Ryan Brownlee to take him out of the game.

Joey Machado got the start of the Mavericks. He pitched six innings, allowing four earned runs on six hits. He walked two and only struck out one batter. The Leathernecks tied the game by a squeezed bunt from junior Bailey Montgomery to score junior Deion Thompson. They combined to score three runs in the fourth and fifth inning, to cut the lead to 5-4.

The Leathernecks tied the game off of another squeeze, this time from senior Johnathan Fleek, scoring junior C.J. Schaeffer. This forced Machado to exit the ball game, making it the battle of the bullpens.

In the top of the seventh inning, the Mavericks were finally able to score off of senior Sam Cottingham-Beard, who had taken over for Koch in the fourth. Cottingham-Beard walked senior Adam Caniglia on a 3-2 count, with two outs with the bases loaded to break the tie. The Mavericks got two more runs thanks to a wild pitch, and an error by Montgomery to make it 8-5. Junior Cal Hehnke came in for Omaha in the bottom of the seventh inning. He was spectacular pitching the rest of the game, only allowing one hit, one hit batter, and two walks. He also got two strikeouts in his first save of the year. The Leathernecks went down swinging. They had runners on first and second brining the tying run to the plate, with two outs in the ninth. Red shirt freshman Alex Dorothy drove the ball into the right field but unfortunately towards the right fielder to end the game.

The Leathernecks will be on the road this week. They are looking for some revenge on Wednesday in Peoria against Bradley University, who beat them earlier in the year. Then they will play three games against North Dakota State University. They won two out of three the first time they played Bison and look to win another series against them.

Twitter: Cre_bean

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Necks cool down against Mavericks