Huskers Rally for 6-3 Win Over No. 7 Rice

Houston, Texas – All-American Alex Gordon's three-run homer in the top of the eighth capped a five-run inning, as No. 27 Nebraska rallied for a 6-3 victory over seventh-ranked Rice Sunday afternoon at the Crowne Plaza/Rice Invitational.

Trailing 3-1, the Huskers, who are 7-0 and off to their best start since 1992, scored five times off Owl closer Bryce Cox, including homers by Gordon, who hit his second of the season, and by Daniel Bruce, who hit his first of the year.

Bruce's one-out solo homer to left center, the first run that Cox had allowed in 8.2 innings of work this season, pulled the Huskers within one. After a walk to Trey Adams and an infield single to Jake Opitz put runners on first and second, Joe Simokaitis tied the score two batters later with an RBI single up the middle. Gordon then launched an 0-2 fastball from Cox over the fence in right center to cap the Husker comeback.

Brian Duensing (2-0) allowed one hit in two shutout innings for the win, while Brett Jensen pitched a scoreless inning of relief for the save. Cox (0-1) allowed five runs in 1.1 innings to suffer the loss.

NU starter Zach Kroenke struggled with his control early on, as the Owls struck for a pair of runs in the bottom of the first to chase the Husker starter. With one out, Brian Friday doubled to right center before a wild pitch and a walk put runners on the corners. Adam Rodgers then stole second, while Jeff Christy's throw to second sailed into center, allowing Rodgers to score Rice's first run. Danny Lehmann then made it 2-0 with a sacrifice fly to right.

The Huskers, who stranded four runners in scoring position over the first four frames, finally got on the scoreboard in the fifth on Brandon Fusilier's two-out RBI single. Boyer opened the fifth inning with a single before moving over to second on Simokaitis' grounder to third. Two batters later, Fusilier sent an 0-1 pitch back up the middle, scoring Boyer from second.

Dusty Timm, who came in the game in the first, held the Owls scoreless until the sixth, allowing one run on one hit in 4.1 innings of work.  He walked Rodgers to open the sixth before Duensing retired the next two batters. With two outs, Josh Rodriguez hit an RBI double to right center to extend the Rice lead to 3-1.

Josh Geer allowed one run over the first 6.2 innings, scattering seven hits and striking out seven Huskers, but did not factor into the decision.

The Huskers will return to Texas next weekend, as they travel to Round Rock, Texas, for the Dell Diamond Classic. Nebraska will once again see the Owls, opening tournament play against Rice on Friday at 1p.m. The game will be carried live on HuskersNside with live stats available on


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