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Peoria, Ariz. – For the second straight day the BYU Cougars intentionally walked Ryan Boldt to get to Blake Headley and for the second straight day the senior from Omaha made the Cougars pay with a double. After roping a two-out, three-RBI double in the ninth inning yesterday, Headley drove in the eventual game-winning run with a one-out double in the top of the 11th that powered the Nebraska baseball team (3-2, 0-0 Big Ten) to a 3-1 victory over BYU in the second game of a doubleheader on Saturday. The victory in game two split a doubleheader between the two teams and gives Nebraska a 2-1 series lead heading into tomorrow’s finale.
After Austin Darby led off the 11th inning with a single, Wes Edrington executed a sacrifice bunt that put the go-ahead run at second base. With Boldt coming to the plate and first base empty, the Cougars intentionally walked Boldt, who entered the at-bat 8-for-12 in the series. Headley stepped up to the occasion again and laced a 1-1 offering into right field for an RBI double that gave the Huskers their first lead of the game. BYU then intentionally walked Ben Miller to get to Tanner Lubach, who was 0-for-17 on the season, and the senior catcher delivered with a deep sacrifice fly to right field that easily scored Boldt to put the Huskers ahead, 3-1.
Following 2.2 innings of one-hit relief from Colton Howell, Nebraska turned the ball over to closer Josh Roeder in the bottom of the 11th and the senior closed the door for his third save of the season and the 21st of his career.
The game went to extras after neither team could find a run late in the game.
BYU had the go-ahead run in scoring position with one down in the eighth after Hayden Nielsen led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. The Huskers gambled by intentionally walking Dillon Robinson and then brought in Howell from the bullpen. BYU countered with pinch-hitter Cole Wilstead and Howell won the battle with a 4-6-3 double play that kept the game tied, 1-1, through eight innings.
The Huskers got their leadoff man on in the ninth when Boldt beat out an infield single for his second hit of the day, but he was only able to reach second base after BYU reliever Michael Rucker got three straight outs, including two strikeouts.
BYU also had its leadoff runner on in the ninth with a base hit from Colton Shaver, but were also unable to drive him in. After Parker Starr popped up a bunt attempt for the first out of the inning, Howell got a 4-3 double play off the bat of Jarrett Jarvis that pushed the game into extra innings.
Nebraska went down in order in the top of the 10th and Howell was in position to retire the Cougars in order, but NU’s defense committed consecutive two-out errors that put the winning run on second base. With Robinson up, BYU’s No. 3 hitter, Howell took matters into his own hands and struck out Robinson to push the game to the 11th.
Starter Kyle Kubat didn’t factor into the decision, but gave the Huskers a strong start, going 7.1 innings in his second outing of the year. The senior lefty retired the Cougars in order three times on the afternoon, while giving up one run on seven hits and one walk, while striking out six.
After Kubat retired nine of the last 10 BYU batters he had faced, Robinson snuck a double down the right-field line with one out in the sixth and then moved to third on a wild pitch. With the Husker infield drawn in, Dallen Reber hit a grounder to Edrington and the Husker shortstop fired home, but it was wide of the plate and Robinson scored to give BYU a 1-0 lead. Kubat was able to keep the damage to one run, responding with a strikeout and a fly out.
The Nebraska offense quickly tied the game, 1-1, with a run in the top of the seventh on a two-out hit from Jake Schleppenbach. With Headley on second with two outs following a strikeout by Scott Schreiber, Schleppenbach came through with a base hit to left field that tied the game, 1-1. With Miller in scoring position at second base, BYU went to Rucker, who retired pinch-hitter Austin Christensen to end the NU seventh.
Neither team scored in the eighth, ninth or 10th innings, setting the stage for Headley to play hero for the second-straight day.
Nebraska and BYU conclude their four-game series tomorrow at 1 p.m. (CT).
*** Posted by Josh Harvey ***