Nebraska baseball had a chance to get its record back to .500 or better, but the Huskers split their two games this weekend and had the third canceled due to weather.
The Frisco Classic in Frisco, Texas, held a promising start for Nebraska. The Huskers defeated No. 3 Texas Tech 2-1 on Friday evening. It was the program’s first win over a top-five foe since beating No. 1 Oregon State in 2014.
Texas Tech took the lead in the third inning on a double to right from Josh Jung and a single by Brian Klein. The Nebraska coaching staff contemplated using video review to challenge the play but ultimately decided against it. That one run was the only blemish on the ledger of senior starting pitcher Matt Waldron, who pitched five innings and allowed one run on four hits, with one walk and seven strikeouts.
The Nebraska offense got on the board in the seventh. Junior Luke Roskam doubled off the right-field wall ahead of a walk drawn by junior outfielder Joe Acker. Junior designated hitter Mojo Hagge pinch-hit for sophomore outfielder Carter Cross and also doubled to right to score Roskam and tie the game at 1-1. Freshman Colby Gomes then hit an infield single to put Nebraska on top 2-1.
Nebraska’s two relievers didn’t allow another hit. Junior Chad Luensmann relieved Waldron and struggled with his command, walking four batters, but also striking out four. Gomes earned Nebraska’s first save of the season, moving from first base to the mound to shut down the Red Raiders in the ninth.
Saturday’s game against Sam Houston State was a quick turnaround for Nebraska. Friday’s game lasted three hours and did not finish until 10:06 p.m., yet the Huskers were back playing at noon on Saturday. Sam Houston State played the earlier game on Friday and lost to No. 12 Mississippi State. SHSU bounced back with an 11-10 comeback win over Nebraska.
Senior Nate Fisher got the start for Nebraska, and he pitched four innings and surrendered two runs (one earned). He allowed six hits and struck out three. The Huskers trailed 2-1 when he left the game, but the offense exploded in the fifth inning.
Sophomore Jaxon Hallmark and freshman Spencer Schwellenbach doubled before senior Angelo Altavilla reached on an error, and Hagge, sophomore Aaron Palensky, Roskam and Acker all singled. The big hit in the inning was a pinch-hit triple by Cross that cleared the bases and gave Nebraska an 8-2 lead. Cross scored on a passed ball to make it a 9-2 game.
The Bearkats responded immediately, striking for six runs in the bottom of the inning off sophomore Connor Curry. They scored on three hits, two Husker errors and a walk in the frame. Nebraska senior Mike Waldron also allowed two runs in the sixth on a two-run home run to Bearkat three-hole hitter Colton Cowser to put SHSU up 10-9, and that score stood until the ninth.
Nebraska managed to tie the game at 10 in the ninth. Hagge singled, and Palensky reached on an error before Acker was intentionally walked to set up a force at every base. Cross hit a sacrifice fly to score Hagge, but that is all Nebraska got from a bases-loaded situation.
Sam Houston State walked off in the ninth. With two on and two out, pinch-hitter Darien Simms hit a single to score the winning run.
Nebraska’s third game in the round-robin set-up was slated for Sunday at 11 a.m. against Mississippi State. However, with morning wind chill temperatures in the low 20s and travel restrictions looming, the game was canceled.
Nebraska is now 4-6 through its first 10 games. With Tuesday’s game against Omaha already postponed, the Huskers are next in action on Friday, March 8, against Baylor in Waco, Texas. The Huskers and Bears will play a three-game weekend series.