NU MEDIA RELATIONS:
Charleston, S.C. – For the third straight season the Nebraska baseball team opened the year with a win, as the Huskers posted a 4-0 win over the College of Charleston Cougars on Friday night at Patriots Park.
Senior Colton Howell tossed 5.0 scoreless inning in his first career start, while reliever Jeff Chesnut and Chad Luensmann each back him up with a pair of scoreless innings. The Husker pitching staff limited the Cougars to two hits on the night and posted eight strikeouts.
NU’s offense totaled 10 hits on the evening, including eight combined hits from sophomores Luis Alvarado, Scott Schreiber, Jake Meyers and Elijah Dilday. Senior Taylor Fish accounted for the other two hits, including a RBI double in the eighth inning.
In his first career start, Howell allowed just one hit, while striking out four. Howell entered the game with 47 career appearances, all out of the bullpen, and had never gone more than 3.1 innings in an appearance.
Charleston starter Nathan Helvey tossed 6.0 scoreless innings for the Cougars and stranded five Huskers on the day. Helvey’s bullpen was unable to keep the shutout going though, as NU plated a pair of runs in both the seventh and eighth innings.
Alvarado and Dilday produced back-to-back singles to start the seventh that put two runners on base for Fish. The senior catcher executed a sacrifice bunt and when reliever Anthony Burke attempt to make the throw to first base he instead threw the ball into right field, allowing Alvarado to score the game’s first run. Burke then retired Steven Reveles, before the Husker order turned over and Charleston went to reliever Will Detwiler. Meyers, who doubled earlier in the game, lined a single into right field that scored Dilday. Detwiler limited the damage though, as he retired Ryan Boldt and Ben Miller to keep the damage to 2-0.
With a lead, Chesnut struck out the first two Cougars he faced in the seventh before issuing a walk to Danny Wondrack. Chesnut responded with a fly out off the bat of Tommy Richter to keep the Cougars scoreless through eight.
Nebraska’s offense tacked two more runs on the board in the eighth, with both scoring on a double from Fish. Schreiber led off with his second hit of the game and after a sac bunt from Jake Schleppenbach, Alvarado notched his third hit of the game to put runners on the corners. Fish stepped in a drove a double into the right-field gap the scored Schreiber and on the play second baseman Dupree Hart bobbled the relay, allowing Alvarado also score to put the Huskers ahead 4-0.
Luensmann, a true freshman, took the mound in the eighth and after allowing a one-out walk to Hart, the Cougars’ leadoff hitter, the Altoona, Pa., native retired CoC’s No. 2 and 3 hitters in order to keep the shutout intact. Luensmann came out for the ninth and polished off the win with a 1-2-3 inning.
The Huskers return to Patriots Point tomorrow for a 1:30 p.m. (CT) first pitch, with sophomore Garett King set to start on the mound against the Cougars.