The Mavericks did not lead the game until the very end of Tuesday’s contest, but they led when the final out was recorded. Omaha received their first home win of the season, a 7-6 victory against Kansas State, due to a pair of two-run singles in the eighth inning from Mike Boeve and Zach Lechnir.
“That was some good two-out hitting there at the end,” said Omaha head coach Evan Porter. “Zach Lechnir was the guy tonight. I think he had two strikes on him in the bottom of the eighth, runners on second and third, two outs, and he came through. I’m proud of our guys.”
The Wildcats scored the first run of the ball game when Brady Day hit a single to left field and Brendan Jones made it home from second. The Mavericks responded in the bottom of the first with a leadoff home run from Haiden Hunt. The starting pitcher for Kansas State, Shay Hartis, was unable to find the strike zone early. Ultimately, the Mavericks were unable to capitalize on the chance and the first inning ended tied at one.
Kansas State started their half of the inning with a leadoff double from Cole Johnson, and Cayden Phillips scored him. The Wildcats followed that up with a Nick Goodwin single that scored Brendan Jones, and then during the next at-bat Goodwin was caught stealing but Dom Hughes scored on the play. In all the Wildcats scored three runs in the second inning and pulled away to a 4-1 lead.
Omaha starting pitcher Jackson Gordon struggled early with his control and ultimately was unable to find the plate. Gordon’s final stat line was 1.1 innings, two earned runs, three hits, and two walks. At that point, the Mavericks’ midweek contest became a bullpen game and featured six pitchers.
The game settled down for a couple of innings but both teams plated two runs in the fifth inning. Kansas State’s Nick Goodwin led off the fifth inning with a solo home run, and from there the Mavericks walked a pair of hitters. Kansas State scored their sixth run of the game when Roberto Pena crossed home on a fielder’s choice play.
In the Mavericks’ half of the fifth inning Boeve stretched his hitting streak to eight straight games to start the season. Boeve would later round the bases and score after an error. Omaha scored their second run of the fifth inning when Zach Lechnir grounded out and Eddie Satisky scored from third base.
Kansas State proved early on that stealing bases was a part of their plan for success against the Mavericks. In the first inning lead off hitter Brendan Jones stole second on Eduardo Rosario but after that Rosario flipped the script. In the end the senior catcher threw out four Kansas State base runners.
“He is a plus defender behind the plate, and we saw that tonight,” said coach Porter. “Every out is crucial, and he threw the one guy out at third who got caught in between. Then had some big plays throwing out three guys at second base.”
Mike Boeve came through for Omaha in the bottom of the eighth inning with a two-run single. The junior third baseman cut the Wildcats’ lead down to only one run with five outs to play with in the game. Boeve later came around to score the game tying run on the same play that the Mavericks took a late 7-6 lead with a two-run single from Zach Lechnir.
The Mavericks turned to Rans Sanders to close out the game. The junior right hander shut the door in the top of the ninth, and only allowed one hit. This was Sanders first save of his division one career.