From the NU Media Relations Department
Lincoln, Neb. – Nebraska (28-25, 7-17) came up on the short end of wild, rain delayed game that stretched across Thursday evening to Friday afternoon as it dropped the series opener to Missouri (24-28, 10-14) by a final of 10-5 at Hawks Field.
The Huskers, which led 3-1 in the top of the fifth when the game was suspended Thursday at 7:43 p.m., saw the Tigers score eight runs over the final two innings Friday afternoon to eliminate NU's chances at qualifying for the Big 12 Championship next week in Oklahoma City.
Game 1 was scheduled to resume at Noon, but a rain delay pushed back the start time to 2:32 p.m. The teams completed four innings and were in a 5-5 tie in the top of the ninth inning when Missouri loaded the bases with no outs. Jesse Santo loaded the bases when his sacrifice bunt back toward the mound was fielded by Casey Hauptman, who elected to go to third and looked to have thrown out Jonah Schmidt for the first out of the inning. Schmidt was called safe and at that time, a second rain delay – this one 37 minutes long – put the squads back in the dugouts. When action resumed, the Tigers scored five runs on four hits and two errors to abolish Nebraska's hopes of a postseason berth.
"It's tough for the kids," head coach Mike Anderson said. "They had their effort. They played hard. They had a strong will, but it just didn't happen. A couple calls didn't go our way and a couple little things didn't happen that changed that ninth inning for us. Our go-to guy has been Casey Hauptman all year and I'll stick with that one. I like what he's given us."
Hauptman (6-3) was tabbed with the loss as he allowed five runs on five hits in 0.1 inning. Matt Freeman began the day on the mound for the Huskers and gave up one run on two hits in 3.2 innings before Hauptman came on in the eighth in a 4-2 ballgame with a runner on second with two outs. Hauptman saw the Tigers put together a strong 2-out rally to score three runs and take a 5-4 lead. Freshman Logan Ehlers started the game Thursday night and was in line for the win as he went 4.0 innings, giving up two runs on five hits. By relinquishing its 4-2 lead, Nebraska lost a game for the first time this year when leading after six innings, as the Huskers were previously 23-0 in that situation.
After Missouri took its 5-4 lead in the eighth, Nebraska had an opportunity to regain its advantage by loading the bases with no outs in the bottom half. Bryan Peters, who went 3-for-4, bounced an RBI single into left field to score Chad Christensen, who led off the inning with a single and went 2-for-5. After NU tied the game, Missouri reliever Phil McCormick struck out Cody Asche and Kash Kalkowski to end the threat. McCormick (7-2) picked up the win by throwing the final 2.0 innings and holding the Huskers to one run on two hits while striking out four.
Asche put together another impressive game as he finished 3-for-5 with an RBI, his 21st multiple hit performance of the season. In the fifth inning, he doubled off the right center field wall, his 24th double of the year to move him into a third-place tie on the NU single-season school record chart. Peters, Asche and Christensen combined for eight of the team's 11 hits in the game, while Missouri had 14.
Prior to the game suspension Thursday night, Nebraska scored a season-high three runs in the first inning to take a 3-0 lead before Missouri scored a run in the top of the fourth. Asche had a pair of singles, while Kalkowski notched an RBI triple to left field.
The Huskers and Tigers will resume the series Saturday afternoon at 12:05 p.m. A doubleheader is scheduled, with the third game following pending the weather forecast, field conditions and travel requirements. Tickets from Friday's game will be valid for general admission on Saturday. Reserved tickets will require a Game 3 ticket.