Husker comeback falls short against Baylor

Waco, Texas – Andrew Brown hit a pair of homers, while a ninth-inning comeback fell just short, as No. 5 fell to Baylor, 6-5, Friday evening at the Baylor Ballpark.

Trailing 6-3, Nebraska rallied against BU closer Nick Cassavechia, scoring twice and putting runners on second and third.

 

Ryan Wehrle reached on a one-out single before Andy Gerch kept the rally alive two batters later by coaxing a walk. Luke Gorsett loaded the bases with a single to center before Opitz made it a 6-5 game as he bounced a 2-0 pitch up the middle, scoring Wehrle and Gerch   Opitz, who went 2-for-5, then stole second to put two runners in scoring position, but the Huskers were unable to complete the comeback, as Nick Jaros struck out to end the rally, as Cassavechia collected his seventh save.

 

The Huskers out-hit Baylor, 10-9, but committed a pair of errors, including one on a second-inning rundown, that helped the Bears jump out to a 4-1 lead.

 

"They executed and we didn't early defensively," Anderson said. "That was two runs right there, specifically if we executed the rundown."

 

The two early miscues thwarted a strong outing by NU starter Joba Chamberlain, who pitched into the eighth in a losing effort.  Chamberlain (5-4) kept the Huskers in the game, allowing just one hit between the second and seventh, as he struck out a season-high 12 hitters, the fourth time he reached double figures this year.

 

"He pitched very well," Anderson said "We dug ourselves a hole, but he gave us exactly what we needed from him."

 

Tim Jackson had two hits and a pair of RBIs for Baylor (31-19, 11-11 Big 12), which also received a solid performance from starter Ryan LaMotta. The Bear right-hander improved to 6-4 with the win, allowing three runs on seven hits over seven innings of work.

 

The Bears got on the board with some clutch two-out hitting in the bottom of the first. With two outs and Zach Dillon on first, Chase Gerdes coaxed a walk before Jackson drove in a run with an RBI single that was misplayed by Bryce Nimmo in center, allowing Gerdes to score from first on the error.

 

The Huskers got one of the runs back in the top of the second, as Brown opened the frame with a solo homer to left, his sixth of the season and second in as many conference games.

 

BU pushed the lead to 4-1 in the second, taking advantage of the costly Husker miscue to score a pair of runs. A two-out single by Kevin Russo started the rally before Seth Fortenberry singled to right, and got hung up in a rundown between first and second, but Wehrle's throw went into the dugout, allowing Russo to score and Fortenberry to reach third. Kevin Sevigny made it 4-1 two batters later with an RBI single between third and short.

 

Brown continued his power surge in the fourth, launching a one-out homer to left center to pull the Huskers within 4-2. It was his second round tripper of the day, and first multi-homer day of the junior's career.

 

The Huskers continued to chip away in the fifth, pulling to within 4-3 on an RBI double by Opitz. Consecutive one-out singles by Brandon Buckman and Gerch put runners on first and second with no outs. After Gorsett grounded into a fielder's choice for the second out, Opitz ripped a double into the corner in left to plate Buckman, but Gorsett was thrown out at home to end the inning. Fortenberry initially misplayed the ball, as the ball caromed off the all, but started a perfect 7-6-2 relay to get a sliding Gorsett at the plate to end the frame.

 

Chamberlain had allowed only one hit between the second and seventh before running into trouble in the eighth, as a one-out single by Gerdes and a RBI double by Jackson made it a 5-3 game. Two batters later, pinch hitter Mike Pankratz gave the Bears a three-run lead with an RBI single off of reliever Zach Herr.

 

The series continues Saturday evening at 7 p.m., as left-hander Tony Watson (7-0, 3.00 ERA) will take on Cory VanAllen (5-4, 4.71 ERA).

 

NU-Baylor Boxscore
 


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