Mavericks run rule Nittany Lions in 16-3 midweek victory


Mitchell Cutcher

Sports Editor

Devin Hurdle (#16) hit his fourth home run of the season. Photo courtesy Mark Kuhlmann/

The Mavericks wasted no time getting the bats going against Penn State, hitting a total of four home runs to move to 3-1 against Big Ten teams this year.

Over the weekend, Omaha’s offense struggled against Western Illinois, a team that had only five wins on the season heading to the weekend. Outside of one inning where the Mavericks unloaded six runs, Omaha’s bats only brought in 10 runs against the Leathernecks who had surrendered 370 runs on the year.

But against Penn State, the Mavericks wasted no time putting runs on the board. In the first three innings of the contest, Omaha scored nine runs and hit two home runs. The hot start featured eight hits, six walks, two hit batsmen, and three stolen bases.

“The story of the night was our offense,” said Omaha head coach Evan Porter. “We showed up and we need to show up like this every single game, and that was the message afterwards. We got a little bit of momentum over the weekend, we took it into tonight, and now it’s time to take it to a really good North Dakota State team.”

The Nittany Lions kept searching for an answer at pitcher but could not find one that could solve the Omaha offense. Penn State starting pitcher Daniel Ouderkirk did not record an out, faced five batters, gave up four runs, two hits, two walks, and hit one batter. Penn State’s next three pitchers combined for three innings, six earned runs, six hits, two walks, hit one batter, and one strikeout.

On the flip side, Omaha received a strong outing from starting pitcher Alex Potter, who came into the game with a 9.19 ERA in 15.2 innings on the season. The Parker, Colorado native went five innings, gave up one earned run, five hits, walked two, hit one batter, and struck out one. This was Potter’s longest outing of the season, with his previous high being 3.1 innings.

“It’s even more important for a guy like Alex Potter,” coach Porter said. “He had a start back against Fresno State, and for him to go out get some confidence and he got out of a couple jams, and he did a great job of limiting their opportunities with runners in scoring position. He did a great job of bearing down.”

Omaha’s scoring explosion was not contained to the early innings though, and added six more runs in the fifth inning. The Mavericks scored all six of their runs with two outs, the first three came off the bat of Cam Frederick, who hit his fifth home run of the year. Later in the inning it was Haiden Hunt who hit a three-run bomb of his own, this was his third home run of the year.

The Mavericks will need to ride their bats the rest of the way as they will be without two key pitchers in starter Caleb Riedel and closing pitcher Rans Sanders. The good news for Omaha is that their bats are catching fire at the right time in the season as they have only two series left to play before the start of Summit League play.