After a tough start to the Big Ten Conference baseball season against Minnesota, the Nebraska baseball team met in-state rival Creighton on Tuesday night for the first of three games against the Bluejays this season. Nebraska’s offense struggled against the Golden Gophers in their last outing, producing only four hits and no runs in a 2-0 loss on Sunday.
When senior second baseman Zac Repinski and sophomore outfielder Mojo Hagge both singled in the Huskers’ first two at-bats of the game, a glimmer of hope appeared that Nebraska’s offense had just maybe busted out of its slump. Two foul-outs and a lineout quickly ended Nebraska’s scoring chances, though.
Creighton’s offense stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the fifth inning to face Nebraska’s starting pitcher, junior left-hander Nate Fisher. Fisher entered the game with seven pitching appearances for the Huskers this year, with four of them coming as a starter. He compiled a 5.24 ERA and 1-3 record in those appearances, allowing 35 hits but only four walks in 22.1 innings of work.
Creighton’s Isaac Collins reached base with a one-out walk and advanced to second base on a wild pitch before reaching third base on a fly out. A double from Will Robertson drove Collins home and gave Creighton a quick 1-0 lead. The second and third innings quickly devolved into a pitcher’s duel, as both teams struggled to reach base.
Two more singles for senior Scott Schreiber and junior Jesse Wilkening to open the fourth inning represented another run-scoring opportunity, but Schreiber was over-aggressive on the base paths and was thrown out trying to reach third base on Wilkening’s single. Creighton also had a pair of singles in the bottom of the inning but failed to convert as well.
Fisher ran into a bit of trouble in the bottom of the fifth inning when he allowed a single and a walk with two outs, leading to the end of his day after allowing one run in 4.2 innings. Junior Mike Waldron entered the game and finished out the inning.
Nebraska’s offense continued to struggle from thereon, combining for only one hit and no walks in the next three innings. Waldron delivered a strong relief pitching performance to hold Creighton to only one run, as he struck out five batters and allowed no hits into the eighth inning.
The Bluejays threatened once again in the bottom of the eighth inning, though, as Collins singled, junior Michael Emodi doubled and Waldron loaded the bases with an intentional walk to set up a potential double play. The move failed to pay off as Thomas Luevano singled to drive in two runs, putting Creighton up 3-0.
Schreiber led off the top of the ninth inning with a double and scored from a Luke Roskam single, but the effort was not enough to complete the comeback, giving Creighton the 3-1 win. With the loss, Nebraska falls to 13-12 on the season, while Creighton improves to 13-6.
Nebraska’s next action will be against Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio, over the weekend. First pitch on Friday is set for 5:30 p.m.