Central Missouri built a five-run lead in the first two innings, then withstood a Maverick rally to claim an 11-6 win over the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the NCAA II Central Regional title.
The No. 12 ranked-Mavericks finished the season 45-13 after moving through the elimination bracket to face the No. 23 Mules, now 45-15. UNO needed to win twice Sunday to advance to its second straight Division II College World Series.
Central Missouri scored twice in the first, then survived a bases-loaded, one out jam in the top of the second. The Mules added three more runs in the second for a 5-0 lead. But the Mavs didn’t quit, putting up a pair of runs in the third and single runs in the fifth and sixth to pull within 5-4. The Mules answered with a four-run sixth, however, and padded their lead with two insurance runs in the seventh.
UNO added a pair in the eighth off two Mules relievers. Dustin Koca and Brian Strawn each drove in a pair of runs to lead the Maverick offense. Koca collected four hits, including his 14th home run, and Strawn had three hits, including a double and his fifth homer of the year.