Softball weekend wins aid in momentum ride

Photo Courtesy of UNO Softball

Joe Franco

A perfect season, some leverage in their conference and a momentum shifter. Well, two out of three ain’t bad. Speaking of two out of three, that’s exactly what the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s softball squad did last weekend.

In a season engulfed with road trips and sightseeing, the Mavericks took yet another visit on the road. This time, they drove up north to take on South Dakota State in a three-game series.

Now that Summit League play has started for UNO, it’s an opportunity for the team to wipe the slate clean after their disappointing non-conference play, and start to pick up momentum towards the tail end of the season. And that’s exactly what the Mavs did as they took two out of the three games from the Jackrabbits.

The Mavs surrendered the first game to SDSU on Friday, losing 8-4.

UNO trailed the entire game and senior right-hander Abbie Clanton took the loss after giving up four runs in the bottom of the first inning.

South Dakota State added on two more before UNO picked up its first run in the fourth inning. The Jackrabbits answered, however, with two more in the bottom of the fourth to take an 8-1 lead. With comebacks hopes still alive, UNO added a run in the sixth inning and two in the seventh, but their dreams of winning the first game came to a halt.

UNO dusted off its bats for the second game and woke up its offense.

The Mavericks took down the Jackrabbits in the first game of their double-header on Saturday in an 11-1 five-inning clinic. Sophomore Laura Roecker threw a complete game, three-hitter to earn the win.

On the offensive side, UNO was led by freshman Vicky Kinney, who went 3-for-3 and two RBI’s.

Seniors Lia Mancuso and Nicole Warren went a combined 6-for-8 at the dish, with the former steal-ing two bases in the process.

In the second game of the day and third overall in the series, Omaha picked up right where it left off, as the Mavs took down the Jackrabbits 10-4.

Vicky Kinney, Emily Klosterman and Lizzie Noble all homered to help the Mavericks beat their conference foe. Roecker contrib-uted on the mound, allowing just four runs in a complete- game effort.

After leading 1-0 courtesy of Noble’s leadoff home run, SDSU bounced back and took the lead off of a two-run home run. The Mavericks answered with four runs in the third inning to lead 6-2. Omaha led for the remainder of the game and shut down the Jackrabbits seventh inning comeback effort.

These two wins put the Mavericks at 4-5 in the Summit League and 13-26 overall. After getting swept in its first series in conference play, UNO is gaining momentum in just the perfect time of the season. Their lackluster record can be forgotten if the Mavericks can continue to ride the momentum rollercoaster. And if they withstand the lows, UNO can cruise into the Summit League Tournament.