Huskers Top Bears, 3-2

Andrew Brown's eighth-inning RBI single drove in Bryce Nimmo for the game-winning run and the Huskers slipped past Baylor, 3-2, in the opening game of the Big 12 Championship at the AT&T Bricktown Ballpark.

Brown's two-out, game-winning single to center scored Nimmo, who came into pinch run for Nick Sullivan, who coaxed a two-out, pinch-hit walk.  Baylor reliever Nick Cassavechia uncorked a wild pitch to move Nimmo into scoring position before Brown sent a 2-2 pitch up the middle for the go-ahead run.

With the win, the Huskers (40-14) reached the 40-win plateau for the seventh time in the last eight seasons and 16th time in school history. The victory was Nebraska's first of the season against the Bears, who swept the Huskers in Waco earlier this month and NU's 14th come-from-behind win of the year.

"It was a good win for our ball club," Head Coach Mike Anderson said. "Just getting down here and getting a win against Baylor is great for our team. I think we have gone 27 innings without having the lead against Baylor, so to get a lead, lose it, and then get it back is a good confidence builder for us."

The go-ahead run made a winner of Tony Watson, who retired pinch-hitter Matt Sodolak on a come-backer that caromed off his leg. Watson, one of five pitchers used on Wednesday, improved to 9-1 on the season, as he avenged his only loss over the last two seasons.

Brett Jensen collected his 11th save, as he tossed a shutout ninth, surviving a leadoff double by Beemer Weems, the Bears' nine-hole hitter, to open the frame.  In addition to Brown's game-winning hit, Nick Jaros provided some heroics of his own in the ninth, nearly catching Weems' shot off the top of the wall in left. 

With Weems on second and no outs, Jensen got Baylor's 1-2 hitters, Kevin Russo and Seth Fortenberry, to pop up on the infield before intentionally walking Zach Dillon. Kevin Sevigny then grounded out to second baseman Jake Opitz to end the game.

Nebraska, which has won three of its last five contests, managed just five hits of Cassavechia and starter Randall Linebaugh, but used homers by Ryan Wehrle and Jeff Christy and a strong outing by redshirt freshman Charlie Shirek to stay in the game.

Werhle's solo shot, his seventh of the year, came off Linebaugh, giving the Huskers a 1-0 cushion.

Shirek took a shutout into the sixth before the Bears got the equalizer on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Ben Booker. Chase Gerdes opened the frame with a single to left center before Tim Jackson's single two batters later put runners on the corners with one out. Booker then lofted a sacrifice fly to center, knotting the score at one.

Baylor took the lead in the top of the seventh on Seth Fortenberry's solo homer to right center off Shirek, taking a one-out offering from the Husker right-hander over the fence in right center, only the second homer Shirek has allowed in 67 innings this season.  Shirek, making his first start against a Big 12 team, pitched well, but did not factor into the decision, allowing two runs on six hits over 6.1 innings of work

"Charlie Shirek did a great job and our top-of-the-order guys did an outstanding job," Anderson said. "It was a good team win, and that's what we needed."

Christy took Shirek off the hook in the bottom of the seventh, snapping a 1-for-23 slump against Baylor in his career, as he tied the game with a solo homer to left off Linebaugh. Christy was hitless in 12 previous at-bats against Baylor this season.

Linebaugh also pitched well, allowing two runs on three hits, but did not factor in the decision, as Cassavechia dropped to 3-4 with the loss in relief.

Nebraska (40-14) will take on the eighth seed Texas Tech Red Raiders (31-23-1) on Thursday night at 8 p.m. CST. The game will be carried on the Pinnacle Sports Network and available on Huskers.com.

Boxscore


Big Red Report Top Stories