No. 8 Huskers Top No. 13 Sooners, 10-4

The No. 8 Nebraska baseball team scored runs in each of the first five innings to bolt to a 10-1 lead and never looked back in a 10-4 win over No. 13 Oklahoma in front of a crowd of 8,310 at Hawks Field Saturday afternoon.

With the win, Nebraska improved to 39-13 overall and pulled one game ahead of Oklahoma in the Big 12 standings with a 17-9 league mark. The Sooners slipped to 38-17 and 16-10 in the conference, and are in fourth place after Oklahoma State's 5-3 win over Texas Tech.

After a narrow 3-2 loss on Friday night, the Huskers wasted little time in setting the tone Saturday. Nebraska tagged OU starter P.J. Sandoval for two runs in the first and another run in the second before chasing Sandoval in the third with five big runs off three OU pitchers. NU kept the pressure on with one more run in the fourth and its final run in the fifth to build an insurmountable 10-1 lead.

"We wanted to score some runs early," Nebraska Head Coach Mike Anderson said. "We hadn't been doing that and just getting a couple runs on the board, two or three runs early. It gives you a more relaxed feeling to go out and play. But our kids have to learn that even if its three up and three down they can still play that well."

Tony Watson was in complete command on the hill, holding OU to just one run on eight hits through 6.2 innings to improve to 8-1 on the season.

 "It was a good day today, especially on the mound," Nebraska Head Coach Mike Anderson said. "Tony Watson was outstanding. He did a great job early, and he used a lot of pitches. His changeup was working well and his fastball was working well so he changed speeds and kept them off balance. I think that was the key for his performance today.

Ryan Wehrle and Nick Jaros, the top two hitters in the Husker lineup, each had three-hit days and combined to go 6-for-8 with four RBIs and three runs scored. Wehrle enjoyed a perfect 3-for-3 day with two RBIs and a run scored, while Jaros also pounded three hits in a 3-for-5 effort that included two RBIs and two runs scored.   Nebraska's 15-hit attack matched its best offensive total since April 19, as eight of nine starters had at least one base hit in the win.

The Huskers backed Watson early, scoring twice in the first, one in the second and five more in the third to chase the OU starter after just two-plus innings of work.

In the first, the Huskers loaded the bases on singles by Jaros and Brandon Buckman before Luke Gorsett was hit by a pitch to load the bases one out. Two batters later, Andy Gerch lined a two-run single to left, giving NU a quick 2-0 lead.

Nebraska made it a 3-0 lead one inning later, as Jeff Christy opened the frame with a double to left and came around three batters later on Ryan Wehrle's RBI single to left.

OU got on the board in the bottom of the third, as Aaron Ivey was hit by a Watson pitch with two outs, moved to second on a walk and scored on Aaron Reza's infield hit behind the bag at second to cut the Husker lead to 3-1.

Gorsett chased Sandoval with a double to open the third, but John Brownell could not stop the Huskers, as NU pushed across five runs in the fame. The Huskers loaded the bases with one out before Christy coaxed a walk to plate NU's first run of the frame. Moments later, Jake Mort's grounder to second made it a 5-1 cushion before Jaros' third hit of the afternoon, a two-run single to left, gave NU a 7-1 lead. Wehrle then gave NU a seven-run cushion with an RBI single.

Sandoval (6-4) allowed four runs on seven hits in his shortest start of the year, while Brownell was touched up for four runs in just 0.2 innings of work.

NU added single runs in the fourth, on Jake Opitz's RBI single and in the fifth before OU tallied three runs in the ninth off of reliever Mike Harmelink.

The Huskers wrap up their three-game set with the Sooners at Hawks Field with Senior Day on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. Brandon Buckman, Jeff Christy and Brett Jensen will all be honored for their contributions to the Nebraska baseball program. Sunday is also Cook's Ham trading card day as the first 500 kids ages 12-and-under will receive a trading card set for the 2006 Huskers.



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