BSB:Chamberlain Leads Huskers Past Rice 4-3

Chamberlain Leads No.18 Huskers Past No. 7 Rice, 4-3. Joba Chamberlain (Lincoln, Neb.) fanned nine and allowed one unearned run over 6.1 innings, as No. 18 Nebraska continued its best start in 15 years with an 4-3 win over seventh-ranked Rice Friday afternoon at the Maxwell Auto Group Round Rock Classic.

Chamberlain continued his early season dominance, holding the Owls to just four hits en route to his second win of the year, lowering his ERA to 0.51in 17.2 innings of work. The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder allowed an unearned run in the third before settling down, retiring eight of the final nine hitters he faced.

"He's a strike thrower and the key for him is that he can throw the slider and curveball for strikes," Anderson said. "He's done a good job of throwing strikes. He's throwing big pitches and getting strikeouts. He's got good stuff and has a lot of confidence in himself."

The Huskers, whose 8-0 start is their best since 1990, jumped out to a 4-1 lead off Rice starter Joe Savery and held on, as the Owls (11-3) hit solo homers in the eighth and ninth and had two on with two outs before Dustin Timm (Yutan, Neb.) got Adam Rodgers to line out to Joe Simokaitis (St. Louis, Mo.) for the final out for his first save.

Curtis Ledbetter (Lawrence, Kan.) and Brandon Fusilier (Coppell, Texas) had two hits apiece, as the Huskers overcame an early 1-0 deficit for their second straight win over the Owls, as all three Rice losses this season have come against Big 12 teams.

Rice took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third, capitalizing on a Simokaitis error for its first run of the day.

Tyler Henley reached on an error to open the inning before Lance Pendleton's double to right put runners on second and third with no outs. Henley scored on Savery's grounder to second, but Chamberlain escaped the inning without further damage.

The Huskers got the equalizer in the bottom of the inning, as Trey Adams (Coppell, Texas) plated Jake Opitz (Littleton, Colo.) with an RBI single to center. Opitz reached on a fielder's choice with one out, moved to second on a balk and scored, as Adams sent Savery's 3-1 offering into center for the tying run.

The Huskers took the lead off the Owl starter the following inning, as Fusilier opened the fourth with a single and moved into scoring position on a Ledbetter sacrifice before Daniel Bruce's (Omaha, Neb.) single to right put runners on the corners. NU then loaded the bases, as Andy Gerch's (Lincoln, Neb.) sacrifice bunt was misplayed by Rice first baseman Adam Rodgers. Jeff Christy (Lincoln, Neb.) then hit a slow rolling grounder that plated Fusilier with the Huskers' second run.

Nebraska, which has won back-to-back games over the Owls, extended the lead to 4-1 in the fifth, chasing Savery after 4.1 innings. Savery (2-1) allowed four runs – two earned – on seven hits in taking the loss.

Adams opened the inning by reaching on Rodgers' second error of the afternoon before Simokaitis' infield single put runners on first and second with no outs. After a wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position, Alex Gordon (Lincoln, Neb.) scored Adams with an RBI groundout to first. Two batters later, Ledbetter greeted reliever Eddie Degerman with an RBI single, pushing the Husker lead to three runs.

Rodgers pulled the Owls to within 4-2 with a one-out solo homer to left in the top of the eight and Rice got to within 4-3, as Adam Morris opened the ninth with a solo homer. With two outs, a Husker error and a walk to Savery put runners on first and second, but Timm came in and got Rodgers to end the game with a soft liner to short for the game winners.

The Huskers will continue tournament play Saturday morning against Texas State. First pitch is set for 11 a.m.

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