Top-seeded Omaha picks up first championship victory in opener

Omaha right-hander Payton Kinney won his 10th contest of the season in the 2019 #SummitBSB Championship opener. Buy Now
Omaha right-hander Payton Kinney won his 10th contest of the season in the 2019 #SummitBSB Championship opener.

TULSA, Okla. – Top-seeded Omaha jumped on fourth-seeded Western Illinois early and staved off a late rally to post a 15-9 victory Wednesday in the opening game of the 2019 Summit League Baseball Championship. The Mavericks scored multiple runs during innings two through five and got six scoreless innings on the mound from Payton Kinney, who backed up the Summit League Pitcher of the Year award he collected at Tuesday night's banquet.

After a scoreless first, Omaha's offense got to WIU starter Javin Drake in the second, opening the frame with four consecutive singles that plated the first three runs of the game. The All-Summit League first team performer had tossed a four-hit shutout in his last outing vs. the Mavericks on May 11th but did not have the same stuff in this one. 

Right fielder Ben Palensky doubled Omaha's lead with a three-run blast in the third, pushing the advantage to 6-0. Left fielder Parker Smejkal added his second double of the contest in the fourth to plate a tally as the Mavericks tacked on two more runs in the frame. Omaha added three more in the fifth to push the lead to 11-0. 

The Leathernecks had their best chance to score off Kinney in the fifth, but the right-hander was able to get out of a bases-loaded jam by striking out Kevin Raisbeck looking. He worked through the sixth inning, allowing only three hits while striking out five Leathernecks to pick up his 10th win of the season.

WIU did get its offense going against the Omaha bullpen. In the seventh, the Leathernecks pushed two runs across thanks to RBI-singles from Kevin Raisbeck and C.J. Schaeffer. That cut the deficit to 11-2, but the Mavericks would get four runs back in the bottom of the eighth to push the advantage back to double figures. Catcher Brett Bonar had a two-run double to cap Omaha's scoring in that frame.

Those late runs were almost needed, but a seven-run outburst by the Leathernecks in the top of the ninth was too little too late and not enough for WIU to pull off the improbable comeback. Right fielder Drue Galassi had a bases-clearing double in the frame after the Omaha bullpen walked two in with the bases loaded. Dillon Sears added a two-run single, but Tyler Daugherty was able to end the rally by inducing Schaeffer into a game-ending comebacker.  

How It Happened






Omaha's Thomas Debonville delivered an RBI-single and Jack Lombardi added a two-run single



Omaha's Ben Palensky belted a three-run homer to left field



Omaha's Parker Smejkal recorded an RBI-double and Brett Bonar followed with a sacrifice fly



Omaha scored the first run of the frame on an error by WIU shortstop Kevin Raisbeck, then got a two-run single from Keil Krumwiede to cap the scoring



WIU picked up a pair of runs thanks to RBI-singles from Raisbeck and C.J. Schaeffer 



Omaha tacked on four more runs with an RBI-single from Breyden Eckhout, Smejkal was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Brett Bonar capped the scoring with a two-run double



The Leathernecks plated seven runs with the first two coming from bases-loaded walks. Drue Galassi added a bases-clearing double to plate three runs and Dillon Sears capped the scoring with a two-run single

Pitchers of Record

Win – Payton Kinney (10-1): 6 IP, 3 hits, 0 earned runs, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts

Loss – Javin Drake (7-6): 4.1 IP, 9 hits, 10 earned runs, 4 strikeouts, 4 walks


• This is Omaha's first win in the Summit League Baseball Championship. The Mavericks went 0-2 in their only previous appearance in 2016

• Kinney's 10th win of the season equaled the program's single-season Division I record (since 2011-12) 

• Kinney's scoreless start was his fifth of the season and first since a March 31st start against the Leathernecks

• WIU third baseman Diego Munoz equaled a season-high with three hits in the game

• The Leathernecks left the bases loaded in the fifth and the seventh, failing to score in either frame

• Drake struck out four Mavericks to break WIU's single-season record for punchouts with 109

• Attendance: 416


Up Next

With the 15-9 victory on Wednesday, Omaha moves on to face the winner of game two between No. 2 seed South Dakota State and No. 3 seed Oral Roberts Thursday at 6 p.m. CT.

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