LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The Omaha baseball team edged Southern California, 12-9, for its first win of the season in the series finale.
The win marks Omaha’s first road win over a Power-5 opponent since last season’s 8-7 win at Nebraska on April, 18, 2018. After leading 12-1, the Mavericks survived eight unanswered USC runs and closed out the series with a three-run victory.
Leaders for Omaha
Thomas DeBonville finished 2-for-6 with three RBI and a home run, Max Gamm also had three RBI (1-for-4). Matt Bondarchuk, Braden Rogers and Parker Smejkal all had two RBI apiece. Keil Krumwiede went 2-for-4 with three runs scored.
On the mound, Payton Kinney earned the win (1-0) with two strikeouts through 4.0 innings pitched, while USC’s Chandler Champlain earned the loss. Tyler Daugherty notched his first-career save with two strikeouts, as 17 of his 25 total pitches were on target.
Inside the Game
Omaha got off to a hot start in the top of the first inning. Bondarchuk walked, Brett Bonar singled and Krumwiede walked to load the bases early on with only one out. After Smejkal was walked, that sent home Bondarchuk for a 1-0 Omaha lead.
The Maverick lead increased at 3-0 when Rogers doubled for a pair of RBI. Gamm continued the offensive production with a single for two more RBI and made it 5-0.
The Trojans, however, were able to get runners in scoring position and were able to load the bases with two outs. Kinney, however, left the USC runners stranded with his first strikeout of the game.
Krumwiede set up the Maverick attack with a double on two outs in the bottom of the second. That preceded a Smejkal double and brought home Krumwiede for an RBI, which made it 6-0 Mavericks. In the bottom of the third with two outs, the Trojans doubled and scored the first run of the game to cut the Omaha lead to five.
With no outs in the top of fifth, Rogers loaded the bases off a bunt and beat the throw to first. Gamm followed with a sacrifice fly to bring home Krumwiede for an unearned run. Breyden Eckhout then singled to load the bases and Bondarchuk doubled down the left field line to score two. Enter DeBonville, who recorded the team’s first home run of the year and scored three more to make it 12-1 Mavericks.
The Trojans plated four more runs in the bottom of the fifth with three singles and cut it to 12-5. With one out and USC runners on first and third, the Mavericks were able to close out the inning with a 3-6-3 double play. An inning later, a single up the middle with two outs gave USC another run that carved into the Omaha lead. The next USC run came in the bottom of the seventh off a sacrifice fly.
The USC surge continued and the Trojans scored two more that dwindled Omaha’s lead to three. Daugherty then entered the game late and recorded a crucial strikeout with a runner in scoring position to close out the eighth inning.
Ben Palensky recorded his first hit of the season in the top of the ninth on a double to left field. He later advanced to third, but was left on base. In the final stanza, Omaha secured the win with a Daugherty strikeout, a pop fly and a 6-3 putout for the first win of the season.
With Wednesday’s game against Kansas postponed due to weather, the Mavericks will set their focus on another west coast series at Seattle. That four-game series is set for a 6 p.m. (CST) start on Friday, Feb. 22, followed by a doubleheader Saturday that begins at 3 p.m. Sunday’s series finale begins at 2 p.m.