ROCHESTER, Mich. — UNO freshman Tyler Fox pitched six strong innings and Caleb Palensky drove in four runs in a 9-6 win over Oakland on Thursday in the opener of a four-game series.
Fox improved to 5-2 after allowing three runs on six hits while striking out two. UNO (20-20, 13-4) led 8-1 after 4½ innings and held on to maintain its grip on first place in the Summit League.
Palensky, a junior, was 3 for 5 to pace a 12-hit attack. Redshirt freshman Clayton Taylor was 2 for 2 with two RBIs, while senior Tyler Splichal was 2 for 3 with an RBI and two runs scored. Alex Schultz was 2 for 5.
UNO thrived despite having the Summit's top two hitters — Cory Buckley and Alex Mortensen — go a combined 0 for 6.
Oakland jumped to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Todd Dunham was hit by a pitch, stole second and later scored on Mike Carson's sacrifice fly to left. UNO tied the game in the top of the second, with Taylor scoring on Palensky's RBI single through the right side.
The Mavs added four runs on three hits in the third. Mortensen was hit by a pitch and Buckley walked, then both moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Ryan Keele. Splichal singled to center to score Mortensen, and Buckley crossed on Taylor's sacrifice fly to left. Alex Schultz then singled to third, and Palensky sent a two-run triple down the right-field line to plate Splichal and Schultz and make it 5-1.
In the fifth, UNO tallied three more runs on four hits. Splichal was hit by a pitch, and Taylor singled through the right side to start off the inning. A one-out single to right from Palensky brought in Splichal, and two batters later, Brett Bass doubled to left center to score Palensky and Taylor as the lead ballooned to 8-1.
The series, originally scheduled to start Friday, was moved up a day. A doubleheader is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday and the series wraps up with a single game at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.