Niederklein, Hauptman Lead Huskers Past No. 5 Texas
Lincoln, Neb - Tyler Niederklein put zeros on the board through the fifth inning while Nebraska (28-20, 7-13) built a 6-0 lead en route to a 6-3 win over No. 5 Texas (36-12, 17-7) in the series finale Sunday at Hawks Field. Niederklein improved to 7-2 this season as he gave up two runs on only four hits in 5.2 innings. He was relieved by another Omaha, Neb., native in the sixth as Casey Hauptman went the final 3.1 innings and allowed one run on three hits to earn his eighth save of the year. Hauptman's clutch relief also moved the Huskers to 23-0 when leading after six innings.
"It was a good day today," head coach Mike Anderson said. "You have to talk a little bit about yesterday, because yesterday was kind of a tough loss. We worked as hard as we possibly could to get the kids in the right frame of mind taking the field today to not let anything carry over. We really liked the way the kids approached the game."
Nebraska, which dropped the first two games of the series, rebounded to win a game over a ranked opponent for the fifth time this season, including the third against a top 10 team. The Huskers scratched across single runs in the third and fourth before exploding for a four-run fifth keyed by back-to-back singles from Kale Kiser and Bryan Peters to start the inning. That knocked Texas starter Hoby Milner out of the game after 4.1 innings, while reliever Kendal Carrillo gave up a 2-RBI double to Kash Kalkowski down the right field line. Carillo did not record an out and came out of the game for Nathan Thornhill, who allowed a sac fly RBI to Chad Christensen before Kalkowski scored the final run of the inning when Josh Scheffert's grounder to third was mishandled by third baseman Erich Weiss.
The Huskers got to Milner in the third by loading the bases before Cody Asche's fly ball to left scored Khiry Cooper. Nebraska made in 2-0 an inning later when Patric Tolentino roped a double down the left field line to score Kalkowski, who hit a leadoff single through the left side of the infield. Tolentino was clutch at the plate after going 2-for-4 in the game 2 defeat to the Longhorns.
Kalkowski finished 2-for-4 to highlight Nebraska's seven-hit day, while Peters was 2-for-3 with a run scored on a pair of singles. Texas matched the Huskers' seven-hit total but Niederklein was able to work out of early jams, including leadoff singles in both the first and third innings. Hauptman gave up a single run in the eighth, but was otherwise untouchable with 1-2-3 innings in the seventh and ninth to tab his eighth save, placing him in sole possession of sixth place on the NU single-season save chart. His outing was also highlighted by superb defensive plays, including a barehanded grab on a bouncer back to the mound to end the seventh. Kalkowski also aided Hauptman's save with an alert play to retire Paul Montalbano in the eighth, as the Longhorn rounded second base on Jonathan Walsh's single to right field before Kalkowski fired the ball to Christensen to tag out Montalbano as he attempted to get back to the bag.
Nebraska will play its final non-conference game Tuesday night when it travels to Omaha's TD Ameritrade Park to take on Creighton. First pitch is set for 7 p.m., and the Huskers' attempt at the season sweep will be televised nationally on ESPNU. Tickets can be purchased via Ticketmaster.
Source: University of Nebraska Athletic Dept.