Senior RHP Ben Percival tossed a two-hitter for his first shutout of the season, and a two-run homer by senior SS Evan Porter in the bottom of the first helped Nebraska-Omaha secure a berth in the championship round of the MIAA Baseball Tournament Saturday afternoon (May 9) at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.
The Mavericks (39-18) will face the winner of the last game of the day between the Lions (35-19) and Central Missouri (40-12) Sunday (May 10) at 1 p.m. UNO needs only to one win to secure the MIAA’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division II Tournament.
Percival (10-3) snapped a string of three straight losing decisions with the 102-pitch gem. He retired the first 12 Lions he faced before senior 1B Derek Ezell smacked a clean single up the middle to open the fifth.
He walked the next batter, but after a fielder’s choice retired Ezell at third, Percival induced a double-play grounder by freshman DH Shayne Hoch to escape futher trouble.
UNO took the lead in the bottom of the first on Porter’s ninth homer of the season plated junior 2B Andrew Hansen, who led off the inning with a walk off of Southern’s starter, junior RHP Garrett Groom (5-4).
The Mavericks added a pair of runs in the fifth on a double by junior CF Jeremy Klein and a single by senior DH Drew Schwab — both were unearned runs off of Groom.
Southern led off the sixth with a single by junior C Trent Owens, but that was the last safety the Lions would get off of Percival. The only baserunners MSSU had after that came on errors in the seventh and ninth innings.
Percival fanned six and walked one to become the MIAA’s second 10-game winner of the season. Groom allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits with four strikeouts and a walk — all on 99 pitches.