NU MEDIA RELATIONS:
Long Beach, Calif. – The Nebraska baseball team (3-4, 0-0 Big Ten) notched its second straight win over a top-25 opponent on Friday night with a 9-2 victory over the #20 Long Beach State Dirtbags (5-4, 0-0 Big West).
The Husker offense matched a season high with 15 hits, marking the sixth time this season it has amassed double-digit hits. Ryan Boldt and Jake Meyers each put together three-hit nights, while Scott Schreiber and Ben Miller each recorded their second home runs of the season.
Senior Colton Howell went 4.1 innings in his third career start, allowing two runs on five hits and three walks. Howell put up zeroes through the first four innings, but struggled in the fifth after sitting for an extended period of time in the top of the frame when the Husker offense sent 10 batters to the plate and scored five runs.
Relieve Jake McSteen took over for Howell in the fifth and kept the Dirtbags off balance. McSteen tossed 4.2 innings of scoreless relief and retired 10 of the final 11 batters he faces. After the sixth, the only Dirtbag that reached base was Garrett Hampson, who recorded his fourth hit of the game in the bottom of the ninth.
Long Beach State starter Chris Mathewson tossed 98 pitched over 4.0 innings, his shortest start of the year, and gave up four runs on eight hits and three walks. The 2015 Big West Freshman Pitcher of the Year had given up nine hits and walked just two batters in 13.0 innings over two starts coming into Friday night.
After the teams combined to score no runs and strand nine runners in the first two innings, the Huskers got on the board in the third. Mathewson was in a groove with back-to-back strikeouts to start the inning, but then Schreiber came to the plate and deposited a 2-0 offering over the left-center field wall to give the Huskers a 1-0 lead. It was Schreiber’s second home run of the season and fifth of his career.
Nebraska opened up the game in the fifth when they scored five runs on four hits and a LBS error. Jake Placzek and Miller started the frame with singles and then Schreiber delivered again with an opposite-field RBI double that knocked Mathewson out of the game. Lefty Lucas Jacobsen started his night with a walk to Meyers that loaded the bases and then pinch-hitter Luis Alvarado came through with a RBI single. Taylor Fish and Jake Schleppenbach followed with consecutive RBI sacrifice flies that gave NU a 5-0 lead. Jacobsen looked to get out of the inning when he got a ground ball to second base off the bat of Reveles, but Duran threw the ball wide of first and Alvarado scored to give NU a 6-0 lead.
Long Beach State broke into the scoring column in the fifth with a pair of runs on three hits. Three of the Dirtbag’s first four hitters recorded hits and with two runs on the board the Huskers turned the ball over to McSteen. The lefty redshirt freshman calmed the waters and got NU out of the inning without any more damage.
After the teams went scoreless in the sixth, seventh and eighth, the Husker tagged on three insurance runs in the ninth. Schleppenbach led off the inning with a double and later scored on a one-out single by Boldt. Following a pop out, Miller blasted a two-run blast to right field that gave NU a 9-2 lead.
McSteen polished off the victory in the bottom of the ninth and picked up his first career win.
Due to forecasted rain on Sunday, the Huskers and Dirtbags will play a doubleheader tomorrow, with game one scheduled for 2 p.m. (CT). Game two will start roughly 45 minutes after the conclusion of game one.