Chamberlin lights out, strikes out 15

Houston, Texas – Joba Chamberlain (Lincoln, Neb.) fanned a career-high 15 Lobos over seven innings, as No. 27 Nebraska improved to 6-0 on the season with a 12-0 shutout over New Mexico Friday evening at Crowne Plaza/Rice Invitational at Reckling Park.

Chamberlain was dominant against the Lobos, allowing only two infield singles en route to his first career win as a Husker. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound right-hander struck out eight in a row at one point and only allowed two balls out of the infield, fly balls by Chris Carlson in the first and by Carlos Castillo in the seventh.

Chamberlain's 15 strikeouts were the most by a Nebraska pitcher since two-time All-American Shane Komine struck out 16 against Missouri during the 2000 season and two off the school mark of 17 shared by Komine in 2000 and Brent Friehauf in 1993.

Chamberlain's effort helped NU enjoy their first 6-0 start since 1993 heading into Saturday's showdown with seventh-ranked Rice, a 9-1 winner over Western Carolina in Friday's first game.

Nebraska Head Coach Mike Anderson said that Chamberlain's effectiveness early in counts was the key for the sophomore, who has struck out 19 and walked none in 11.1 innings of work this season.

 "Joba was great tonight," Anderson said. "He threw a lot of first-pitch strikes, and that was great to see. We went out there and scored some runs early, and he got in a great rhythm and just shut them down. We are proud of his effort."

 "Everything felt good, and I had confidence in all of my pitches tonight," Chamberlain said. "The offense got me three runs in the second, and I felt comfortable after that."

While Chamberlain was dominant on the hill, the Husker bats cranked out four homers, including two by Curtis Ledbetter (Lawrence, Kan.), who recorded his third career multi-homer game and first since March 21, 2003. All-American Alex Gordon (Lincoln, Neb.) and Brandon Fusilier (Coppell, Texas) also added solo homers in NU's 12-hit outburst.

Jason Fernandez (2-2) suffered the loss, striking out 10, but surrendering eight runs on nine hits, as New Mexico dropped to 4-7 on the season.

The Huskers took command early, scoring six runs in the first four innings and relying on Chamberlain and Phil Shirek, who struck out a pair in two shutout innings to complete the three-hit shutout.

After a scoreless first, the Huskers pushed across three runs in the second off Fernandez, highlighted by Fusilier's second homer of the season. The Husker left fielder opened the frame with a solo shot to right, giving NU a 1-0 lead. After a Brandon Buckman base hit, Trey Adams gave NU a 2-0 lead two battlers later, tripling into the right field corner. Jeff Christy added to the lead moments later, squeezing Adams home to give the Huskers a three-run cushion.

The Huskers took advantage of aggressive base running to plate a pair of runs in the third.  With one out, Simokaitis singled, stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch before Alex Gordon walked to put runners on the corners. Gordon then stole second but Carlos Costillo's throw went into center, allowing Simokaitis to score and Gordon to eventually reach third. Buckman's second hit of the night, an RBI single to right, made it 5-0.

The runs were more than enough for Chamberlain, who allowed an infield single in the second before retiring 13 in a row, including 11 strikeouts until Garrick Haymore's infield hit off the seventh.

 "I didn't think about it (the strikeouts) much until they started saying something, but everything kept working perfectly all night," Chamberlain said.

The Huskers return to action Saturday afternoon, as they take on the seventh-ranked Rice Owls. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. and live video of the contest will be available on HuskersNside.com.


Big Red Report Top Stories