Huskers upset No. 25 Cal

In front of the largest crowd at Hawks Field since 2010, the Nebraska baseball team evened up their four game series against California on Saturday afternoon with a 12-5 victory over the Golden Bears. Jon Keller picked up the win for the Huskers (9-5) and Rich Sanguinetti hit a grand slam to ensure a Husker victory.

*Nebraska's bats came alive today at a windy Haymarket Park, with three homeruns on the afternoon. Richard Stock started the action with a two-run shot in the third inning, and Chad Christensen went deep to lead off the sixth. The common factor between these homers and Cal's were that they were hit to left field – the direction the wind was blowing. When Sanguinetti hit his homerun in the decisive eighth inning, it was to right field – directly into the teeth of the wind, making it all the more impressive. The Nebraska's offense was much better at capitalizing on opportunities today: after leaving the bases loaded in the first inning they only left two more runners on base the rest of the game. Leaving men in scoring position has been a weak spot for the Huskers early in the season – they left 15 men on base yesterday. If they can fix that problem – which they looked to do today – they will be a tough team to beat.

*Jon Keller struggled against Cal's disciplined approach at the plate early in the game. But after giving up three runs in the first two innings, the right-hander settled down and ended up pitching a career high 7 1/3 innings. He only struck out two batters, but he just walked one, and two of the five runs he gave up were unearned. More importantly he managed his pitch count well, only throwing 100 pitches. If he can consistently keep his pitch count down he'll be a big weapon for Nebraska, because he'll be able to pitch more innings. Both Keller and Coach Erstad said after the game that it was a big growing moment for the sophomore.

*Nebraska committed two early errors on defense, which led to the two unearned runs given up by Keller. However, they settled down and some great plays after that. At third base, (not his normal position) Josh Scheffert led the way with a couple of web gems, including a diving stop to his right and a barehanded play fielding a bunt. Michael Pritchard also made a diving catch in left field.

Other Notes: Stock ended up going 3-4 at the plate today with three RBI and two runs scored. The junior is now hitting .463 on the season, which leads the team.

*Ryan Hander came in to pitch the 9th inning and closed out the victory for the Huskers, setting down Cal without giving up a run. The junior has now pitched 8 1/3 innings this season and has yet to give up an earned run. He's been a nice weapon out of the bullpen for pitching coach Ted Silva.

*There was a great crowd on hand to witness the Huskers' victory. The attendance was 5,298, the largest since April of 2010 when Nebraska hosted Kansas. The fans were lining up outside the ticket office beforehand and were loud throughout the game.

Nebraska and Cal will meet up again tomorrow for Game 3 of the four game set, with first pitch scheduled for 1:05. Junior right-hander Tom Lemke (1-0) is slated to pitch for the Huskers.

- Josh Harvey -

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