Huskers sweep doubleheader
from No. 25 Anteaters
At the plate, the Huskers recorded 14 hits in the game two as all nine starters recorded a hit. Combined on the day, Nebraska notched 20 runs on 33 hits off a UCI pitching staff that entered the weekend with a team ERA of 1.68 that ranked sixth in the country.
Austin Darby paced the Husker offense in game two with a 3-for-5 performance, while scoring once and driving in one. Pat Kelly finished the contest with a pair of RBIs, and a pair of web gems at second base that kept the Anteaters from producing a big inning late. Kelly made the last out of the eighth when he ranged to his right, jumped in the air and threw across his body to get pinch hitter Ryan Cooper at first base. Steven Reveles, Ryan Boldt and Austin Christensen all pounded out two hits in the confidence-boosting victory for the Huskers.
In the three-games series, Boldt was 8-for-13 (.615) with four doubles and four RBIs, while Tanner Lubach led the team with six RBIs.
NU starter Chance Sinclair didn't factor into the decision but gave the Huskers 6.2 innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on eight hits and three walks. Zach Hirsch got the win in relief and improved to 2-0 on the year, while Josh Roeder picked up his third save of the season with a perfect 1-2-3 ninth inning.
Nebraska (11-7, 0-0 Big Ten) caps its nine-game homestand Tuesday night when it welcomes the Creighton Bluejays to Hawks Field for the first of three meetings between the instate teams this season. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m.
After getting blasted 13-4 in the game one on Saturday, Connor Spencer put UC Irvine up early with a two-out double in the top of the first that gave the Anteaters a 1-0 lead.
The Huskers didn't threaten until the bottom of the third when Ben Miller came to the plate with the bases loaded following a double by Darby, an infield single by Boldt and a walk to Kelly. Miller put a good swing on a 1-2 pitch from UCI starter Evan Brock, but lined it directly at the second baseman to end the rally.
NU found its stride in the home-half of the fourth when Christensen, Lubach and Christian Cox produced consecutive hits to load the bases for Jake Placzek. Brock then cost himself a run when he uncorked a wild pitch that scored Christensen to tie the game, 1-1. After Brock struck out Placzek, Darby took the first pitch he saw to right field, bringing home Lubach on the play to give the Huskers the 2-1 edge after four innings.
UC Irvine tied the game in the top of the fifth with an unearned run after a two-out throwing error on a play at third sent the runner home. The game remained tied until the top of the seventh when UCI took a 3-2 lead in the on another unearned on a NU throwing error.
As the wind switched directions and the temperature dropped significantly, the Husker bats started to heat up in the bottom of the seventh to take a 5-3 advantage. Boldt started things with a one-out double down the left field line, his fourth of the series. Kelly stepped up and tied the game with an RBI single before moving to third on a single by Miller. Christensen kept the runs coming with a RBI single to right and Lubach drove in Miller with a RBI groundout to put Nebraska in front 5-3.
The Anteaters did not go away quietly, as Jerry McClanahan led off the eighth with a fly ball, but the strong winds blew it into the UCI bullpen behind the right-field wall for a solo home run. Hirsch kept the Anteaters from creating a big inning by retiring the next three batters in order.
Nebraska's offense wasn't satisfied and notched a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to take a 7-4 lead. After Placzek started the frame with a leadoff walk, Darby singled on a 2-0 pitch with nobody out. Reveles sent a 0-1 pitch to right field that plated Placzek to stretch the NU lead to 6-4. Two batters later, Kelly drove in his second run of game two as Darby touched home to cap the scoring. Josh Roeder came on in the ninth and put the Anteaters down in order on 11 pitches to earn his third save of the season.
R H E ------------------------------------------- UC Irvine .......... 100 010 110 - 4 9 1 Nebraska ........... 000 200 32x - 7 12 2 -------------------------------------------
Game 1: Huskers Bury Anteaters, 13-4
DeLeon was efficient, needing exactly 100 pitches in his 8.0 innings of work, the fifth time in 19 starts he has gone 8.0 innings for the Huskers. The 6-3 righty allowed three runs, two earned, to the Anteaters on eight hits and just one walk. DeLeon faced just three UCI batters in four of his eight innings.
Four Huskers had at least three hits, including a 4-for-5 performance from freshman Ryan Boldt, who had two doubles and four RBIs. Fellow freshman Ben Miller was 3-for-4 with two doubles, while Jake Placzek and Tanner Lubach also had three hits, with Lubach knocking in four runs.
DeLeon came out and retired the top of UCI's lineup in order to start the game, needing just eight pitches. Nebraska's offense kept the momentum going by scoring a pair of runs on two hits off Irvine starter Elliot Surrey. The UCI lefty lasted just 3.2 innings, allowing five runs on eight hits.
Austin Darby started the home half of the first by roping a double into the left-field corner on the first pitch he saw from Elliot and then Steven Reveles laid down a bunt single that put runners on the corners for Michael Pritchard. The Husker DH nearly grounded into a double play, but UCI second baseman Mikey Duarte was unable to catch the ball at second, allowing Darby to score, Reveles to coast into third and Pritchard to reach. Pat Kelly then nearly deposited his second home run of the season into the left-field berm, but had to settle for a sacrifice fly to the warning track that plated Reveles. The inning ended when Pritchard was caught stealing second base and following the play he was ejected from the game.
Irvine's first two batter reached in the second, but DeLeon dug in and got three straight outs, setting the table for the Husker offense to add to its lead. Placzek got the inning going with a one-out single that was followed by a single from Boldt and a RBI single by Ty Kildow that put Nebraska on top 3-0.
After DeLeon retired the Anteaters in order to start the third, Miller, who took over the DH role for the departed Pritchard, started the bottom of the frame with a double into the left-field corner. Two batters later Lubach brought the fans to their feet with a towering two-run homer that landed in the left-field berm. Lubach's second homer of the year put the Huskers ahead 5-0.
The Anteaters finally scored off DeLeon in the top of the fifth when a pair of two-outs singles drove in Justin Castro, who had singled. UCI then got an easy run when a line drive to Reveles at short would have ended the inning, but it popped off his glove allowing an unearned run to cross the plate. With two runners on and the tying run at the plate in No. 3 hitter Taylor Sparks, the reigning Big West Co-Player of the Year, battled for 13 pitches, but DeLeon won the fight when he got Sparks to flyout to left field.
Nebraska's offense got both runs back in the bottom of the fifth and added two more, extending its lead to 9-2. The Huskers lit up reliever Michael Miller for four runs on four hits, before he exited the game after giving up a two-RBI double to Boldt. Reliever Michael Martin came in and gave up consecutive singles to Kildow and Darby, before ended the inning with a pop up off the bat of Reveles.
DeLeon produced his fourth 1-2-3 inning in the top of the sixth and then the Husker bats went back to work, starting with a leadoff double by Miller, his second of the game. After Kelly moved Miller to third with a groundout, Lubach lined a RBI single that increased NU's lead to 10-2. Austin Christensen then flew out and Placzek nearly notched his first career home run, but it slid foul by a few feet and the sophomore had to settle for a single one pitch later. Boldt stepped in with two down and continued to feast on Anteater pitching with a two-RBI double. It marked his second double in two innings, his fourth hit of the game and Nebraska's 18th hit on the afternoon, a new season high.
UC Irvine added one run in the top of the eighth when Sparks blasted his second homer of the weekend, a solo shot that carried well over the left-field wall.
R H E ------------------------------------------- UC Irvine .......... 000 020 011 - 4 11 2 Nebraska ........... 212 043 01x - 13 19 2 -------------------------------------------