Huskers Fall 7-5 in Extra Innings
Huntsville, Texas – Cory Miller's two-run double in the top of the 10th broke a 5-all tie, lifting St. Mary's (Calif.) to a 7-5 victory over Nebraska Saturday afternoon in the Sam Houston Baseball Classic.
With runners on second and third and one out, Miller bounced a chopper over NU first baseman Tyler Farst went down the right field line, plating the go-ahead runs for the Gaels (5-2). Troy Channing led off the 10t with a single before NU reliever Kash Kalkowski hit Chris Murphy to put two on with no outs. A sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position before Miller doubled past the drawn-in Husker infield.
The Huskers (4-2-1), who have played three extra-inning games in their first seven contests, overcame a two-run deficit in the seventh inning to tie the game at five, could not muster another rally against Brandon Berl, who tossed four innings of no-hit relief to improve to 1-0 on the year.
Kalkowski, who earned his first collegiate win on Friday, suffered the loss, allowing two runs in 1.2 innings of relief to fall to 1-1 on the year.
DJ Belfonte led Nebraska's offensive attack by going 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles and two runs scored, as the Huskers could not take advantage of a strong performance by starter Erik Bird.
The senior from Omaha took a shutout into the seventh before tiring, allowing three earned runs over 6.1 innings of work. He matched his personal best with five strikeouts, but did not get the win, as the Gaels came up with five runs in the seventh.
Nebraska got on the scoreboard in the third, getting a sacrifice fly from Jeff Tezak. Belfonte opened the inning with a double into the corner in right, moved to third on a fly ball by Khiry Cooper and scored moments later, as Tezak lofted a fly ball to left to easily score Belfonte.
Nebraska expanded the lead in the fifth, scoring twice to take a 3-0 advantage. Belfonte opened the inning with his second double of the day, one that bounced off the outstretched glove of a leaping Kyle Jensen in right field. Cooper's single put runners on the corners before Tezak's base hit through the left side scored Belfonte. The Huskers later had two on with two outs before Nick Sullivan coaxed a walk after a 10-pitch at-bat to load the bases. The walk proved beneficial as a passed ball by St. Mary's catcher Ryan Mulligan scored Cooper moments later, staking the Huskers a three-run lead.
Bird was cruising along, taking a shutout into the seventh before St. Mary's struck against the Husker right-hander. Troy Channing, who went 3-for-5, ended Bird's shutout bid with a solo homer to right to put the Gaels on the board. A pair of singles and a sacrifice put the tying run into scoring position. Jensen hit a grounder between third and short that Ben Kline tried to backhand, but the ball skipped by for an error, allowing both runners to score and ending Bird's afternoon. NU reliever Eric Rose then walked Mulligan before Greg Ditmer sent a Rose offering into the gap in right center, plating both runners and giving the Gaels their first lead of the afternoon.
Nebraska came back in the bottom of the frame against Alex Schmarzo, who opened the seventh after starter Scott Schneider allowed three runs on six hits over six frames. Schmarzo opened the inning with two hit batters and a walk to load the bases with no outs. Brandon Berl came in to face Nick Sullivan, who drove in Tezak with a sacrifice fly to left to make it a one-run game. Two batters later, Cody Asche grounder to second was misplayed, allowing Adam Bailey to score the tying run.
The Huskers will continue action tonight against Sam Houston State. First pitch was at 6:05 p.m. between the Huskers and Bears and the game is available on Huskers.com.
Nesseth Paces Huskers to 8-1 Victory
Huntsville, Texas – Behind a dominant effort from Mike Nesseth, Nebraska rolled to an 8-1 victory over Sam Houston State Saturday night at the Sam Houston State Baseball Classic
Nesseth (1-1) was outstanding in his second start as a Husker, allowing three singles over six shutout frames to earn his first victory of the year. The sophomore right-hander fanned 12 Bearkats, striking out the side in the second and fifth innings, as he topped his personal best of seven set in his last start. Nesseth, who didn't allow a ball out of the infield until the fifth, has struck out 19 and allowed just hits over 12 innings in his first two outings.
"I was really happy with our overall performance after a tough loss," Nebraska Coach Mike Anderson said. "I thought the kids we did a good job of bouncing back and scoring some runs early, especially with the way Mike was pitching. He was in command of the zone all night. If we could have played better defense behind him, he could have thrown a complete-game shutout."
Nesseth was backed by a Husker attack that racked out 15 hits, including four from freshman Cory Burleson and three from junior college transfer Kyle Bubak. Burleson went 4-for-5 with two RBIs, while Bubak collected his first three hits of the season and drove in a pair of runs.
"That is why he's playing," Anderson said of Burleson. "He's getting an opportunity because he is hitting and doing a really good job.
Freshman Cody Asche had two hits, including a homer, and drove in three RBIs, while Tyler Farst had two hits and scored twice helping Nebraska (5-2-1) bounce back from a 7-5 10-inning loss to St. Mary's (Calif.) earlier Saturday. Adam Bailey combined with Nesseth on a five-hitter, allowing an unearned run over three innings to collect the save while homering for the third time in four games.
Nebraska struck early against Sam Houston State starter Ryan Tepera, scoring a pair of two-out runs in the second on an RBI single from Burleson and a run-scoring double off the bat of Bubak. After Farst opened the inning with a single, the Bearkat right-hander put down the next two Huskers, but could not get out of the frame unscathed. A wild pitch moved Farst to third before Burleson came through with a single to right to spot NU a 1-0 lead. Bubak, who was hitless in his first 10 at-bats as a Husker, came up with a clutch hit, drilling a 2-1 pitch down the line in right for an RBI double to spot NU a two-run lead.
"Kyle is a good player, but had gotten off to a rough start," Anderson said. "He needed a couple of base knocks to get himself going and that was good to see tonight."
The Huskers used the long ball one inning later, getting homers from Bailey and Asche to extend the margin to 6-0. With one out, Bailey launched his team-leading fourth homer over the fence in right. NU continued to rally, as Farst was hit by a pitch before Nick Sullivan executed a perfect hit and run to put runners on the corners. Asche then turned on a 2-2 offering from Tepera, sending it down the line for a three-run round tripper to give NU a six-run lead.
Tepera (0-1) was tagged for six runs on eight hits in just three innings to take the loss.
Nebraska made it 7-0 in the top of the eighth, as Bubak singled, stole second and eventually scored on a ground out by DJ Belfonte, After SHSU (5-2) scored an unearned run in the eighth, Burleson's fourth hit of the night plated Tyler Rank in the ninth for the final margin.
The Huskers will wrap up tournament action on Sunday morning, as they take on Missouri State. First pitch is set for 10 a.m. and the game will be carried on Huskers.com and on selected Husker Sports Network stations. In addition, the game will be available on HuskersNside.