Huskers Take Tournament Title

Matt Foust allowed one run over five innings for his first career win, while Andy Gerch's five-hit day paced No. 7 Nebraska to a 7-3 victory over Illinois State Sunday afternoon at the UTA Hilton Invitational.

Matt Foust, making just his second career start, scattered four hits over five innings to improve to 1-0 on the season. The junior right hander fanned three and walked in a 72-pitch effort, establishing career highs in strikeouts and innings pitched.

"I was very pleased with Matt's performance," Nebraska Coach Mike Anderson said. "His confidence level was very high, and he settled in and threw strikes. That is something we need from him, and he is a guy who could really help us: I liked the confidence of the pitchers who came in today. They threw with a lot of confidence and passion and were consistently in the strike zone."

Foust said it was the defense that allowed him to get in a groove early on, as the Huskers improved to 3-1 and captured their second UTA Invitational title in as many appearances.

"They made it easy for me today because they were making plays," Foust said. "It gave me the give me the confidence to throw it over the plate because I knew they were going to get to it. That set the tone and I was able to get more comfortable."

Gerch paced Nebraska's 12-hit attack with a 5-for-5 effort, raising his average to .412 on the weekend. Gerch's previous best was a four-hit day against Missouri in the 2005 Big 12 Tournament.

"I didn't feel like I was seeing the ball that badly all weekend, but just wasn't making solid contact," Gerch said of the weekend before Sunday's outburst. "Today, I was able to get solid contact and they were falling."

Gerch said the key moment came in the first, when the Huskers started a two-out rally, culminating in his RBI single. After a walk to Wehrle, Opitz singled to left before Gerch lined an 0-2 pitch to center to score Wehrle.

"You could see our confidence building in the dugout," Gerch said. "Ryan walked and Jake (Opitz) had a great at-bat before my hit

The Redbirds got the run back in the bottom of the second, as Craig Anetsberger singled, stole second and eventually scored on a wild pitch, as he got his hand on the plate before Foust applied the tag.

After the run, Foust settled down, as he retired 10 of the last 12 batters he faced and didn't allow a runner in scoring position after the second.

While Foust kept the Redbirds (1-2) in check, Nebraska got to ISU starter Luke Baughman in the fourth, scoring four runs to take a 5-1 lead.

A Gerch single sandwiched between two hit batters loaded the bases with no outs before Weber lined a 1-2 pitch into center for a two-run single that put runners on the corners.  Jeff Tezak added an RBI single to right to make a 4-1 game. Two batters later, DJ Belfonte gave the Huskers a four-run cushion, as he executed a safety squeeze.

Baughman (0-1) went 3.2 innings, allowing five runs on five hits to take the loss.

Nebraska used some more clutch hitting in the sixth to make it a 7-1 lead after Craig Corriston's two-run single. Tezak opened the frame with a single to right before Belfonte's single put runners on first and second with one out. A wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position before Corriston bounded a single past the drawn-in infield.

Illinois State chipped away at the Husker lead, scoring once in the sixth on Anetsberger's RBI single and pulling to within 7-3 on Chris Dubler's solo homer to open the eighth. The Redbirds continued to rally, getting runners on first and second with two outs before Zach Herr fanned Kyle O'Brien to end the eighth and then pitched a scoreless ninth for his first save.

Anderson said that playing four games outside after being not practicing outside gave the Huskers plenty of things to work on in the next week.

"We won three games, but we have a lot of improvement to do," Anderson said. "Our goal when we step on the field on Friday in Houston next week is to be much improved. We have to take some of the mistakes we made last weekend and turn those into positives. It was a good weekend, but we want great weekends."

The Huskers return to action on Friday, Feb. 23, when they travel to Houston, Texas, for the Rice Invitational, where they will take on Texas A&M Corpus Christi, Rice and Florida Atlantic.

              #7 Nebraska vs Illinois State
              Feb 18, 2007 at Arlington, TX (Clay Gould Ballpark)

Nebraska 7 (3-1)
Player                    AB  R  H RBI BB SO PO  A LOB
Belfonte, DJ cf/rf.......  3  1  1  1   0  0  1  0   0
Corriston, Craig 3b......  4  0  1  2   0  0  2  2   0
 Mort, Jake 3b...........  0  0  0  0   0  0  1  0   0
Wehrle, Ryan ss..........  4  1  1  0   1  0  0  4   2
Opitz, Jake 2b...........  4  1  1  0   0  1  0  2   2
Gerch, Andy lf...........  5  1  5  1   0  0  3  0   0
Sullivan, Nick rf........  2  1  0  0   1  0  0  0   2
 Nimmo, Bryce ph/cf......  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
Weber, Thad 1b...........  4  1  1  2   1  1 13  0   1
Tezak, Jeff dh...........  4  1  2  1   0  1  0  0   0
Hightower, Mark c/ph.....  2  0  0  0   0  1  3  1   0
 Lanning, Jeff ph/c......  1  0  0  0   0  0  4  0   2
Foust, Matt p............  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
 Bowman, Drew p..........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
 Harmelink, Mike p.......  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
 Herr, Zach p............  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
Totals................... 33  7 12  7   3  4 27  9   9

Illinois State 3 (1-2)
Player                    AB  R  H RBI BB SO PO  A LOB
SALZENSTEIN, Collin ss...  3  0  0  0   1  1  0  2   1
 STALOWY, Mike ph........  0  0  0  0   1  0  0  0   0
CHERNEY, Kyle 2b.........  5  0  1  0   0  1  4  2   1
DUBLER, Kevin c..........  5  2  2  1   0  1  6  0   1
BOLT, Matt rf............  3  0  0  0   0  1  4  0   1
ANETSBERGER, Ryan 3b.....  4  1  2  1   0  0  1  1   0
GRISWOLD, Jesse 1b.......  2  0  0  0   2  0  7  1   0
DeMARCO, Gabe dh.........  3  0  2  0   0  0  0  0   2
 TOKARSKI, Mike lf.......  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
 KONSLER, Kevin ph/lf....  1  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
O'BRIEN, Kyle lf/p.......  4  0  0  0   0  2  3  1   2
WESTON, Dan cf...........  4  0  0  0   0  2  2  1   1
BAUGHMAN, Luke p.........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  1   0
 COX, Tyler p............  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
 SORCE, Dan p............  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
Totals................... 34  3  7  2   4  8 27  9   9

Score by Innings                    R  H  E
Nebraska............ 100 402 000 -  7 12  1
Illinois State...... 010 001 010 -  3  7  1

E - Corriston, C(1); WESTON. DP - Huskers 1; Redbirds 1. LOB - Huskers 9;
Redbirds 9. 2B - DUBLER. HR - DUBLER. HBP - Belfonte, D.; Corriston, C;
Opitz, J.; Sullivan, N.; BOLT. SH - Belfonte, D.(1); Nimmo, B.(1);
Hightower, M. SB - Corriston, C(1); Gerch, A. 2(2); Sullivan, N.(2); Weber,
T.(1); ANETSBERGER. CS - Belfonte, D.(1); Weber, T.(1).


Nebraska               IP  H  R ER BB SO AB BF  NP
Foust, Matt.........  5.0  4  1  1  1  3 18 19  72
Bowman, Drew........  2.0  3  2  2  1  3 10 12  54
Harmelink, Mike.....  0.2  0  0  0  1  0  2  3  17
Herr, Zach..........  1.1  0  0  0  1  2  4  5  24

Illinois State         IP  H  R ER BB SO AB BF  NP
BAUGHMAN, Luke......  3.2  5  5  5  2  1 13 20  70
COX, Tyler..........  1.2  4  2  2  0  0  9  9  31
SORCE, Dan..........  1.2  1  0  0  1  2  6  7  28
O'BRIEN, Kyle.......  2.0  2  0  0  0  1  5  7  20

Win - Foust, M. (1-0).  Loss - BAUGHMAN (0-1).  Save - Herr, Z. (1).
WP - Foust, M.; COX. HBP - by BAUGHMAN (Opitz, J.); by BAUGHMAN (Sullivan, N.);
by BAUGHMAN (Corriston, C); by O'BRIEN (Belfonte, D.); by Bowman, D. (BOLT). PB
- Hightower, M. Inherited runners/scored: Harmelink 1/0; Herr, Z. 2/0; COX 2/0;
SORCE 1/0. Pitches/strikes: Foust, M. 72/42; Bowman, D. 54/30; Harmelink 17/7;
Herr, Z. 24/14; BAUGHMAN 70/46; COX 31/20; SORCE 28/15; O'BRIEN 20/12.
Umpires - HP: Dale Luker  1B: Scott Johnston  3B: Bruce Siegel
Start: 11:29a.m   Time: 3:00   Attendance:
Bowman, D. faced 2 batters in the 8th.


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