Less than 24 hours after a gut-wrenching loss to Oklahoma State, Nebraska baseball’s season officially came to an end in the NCAA Regionals with a 16-1 blowout loss to UConn Sunday.
The Huskers defeated UConn in the first round of the regional on Friday, outscoring the Huskies 8-5 despite being outhit 19-13.
This time around, UConn was able to turn its hits into runs, scoring 16 runs on 22 hits.
The Huskies led 5-1 after seven innings, scoring a single run in five separate innings. They then piled it on in the eighth and ninth innings, scoring 11 more runs to add salt to the wound.
Nebraska senior Reece Eddins started on the mound for the Huskers and gave up 10 hits and four runs in 4.1 innings pitched.
In the top of the first, Eddins gave up a walk and a single to the first two batters before retiring the next two. However, sophomore Christian Fedko hit an RBI single to get UConn on the board. In the bottom of the first, sophomore Colby Dunlop retired all three Husker batters in order.
Dunlop continued to control the game throughout, pitching eight innings and only allowing one run off five hits to earn the win.
To start the top of the second inning, freshman Kyler Fedko, Christian’s brother, one-upped his sibling with a solo leadoff home run. Eddins recovered quickly after giving up a run, striking out the next two batters and finally getting out of the inning by forcing a ground out.
After a scoreless third inning, both teams put a run on the board in the fourth inning. Junior Chris Winkel laid down a perfect bunt in the top of the fourth that drove in a run and got him on base.
Sophomore Aaron Palenksy hit a single in the bottom of the fourth, then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Following a walk on the next at-bat, Senior Angelo Altavilla brought the Huskers’ lone run across with an RBI single.
Eddins gave up another RBI single from Christian Fedko in the top of the fifth, prompting head coach Darin Erstad to make a change down 4-1. Freshman Shay Schanaman came in to relieve Eddins, and got the Huskers out of the inning by striking out two straight batters.
However, Schanaman couldn’t maintain his strong start, giving up a run in the top of the sixth inning. Meanwhile, Dunlop kept dealing for the Huskies, retiring all nine batters he faced in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.
In the final two innings, Nebraska completely fell apart. After a strikeout to start the top of the eighth inning, six straight UConn batters reached, scoring four runs in the process. In the top of the ninth inning it was even worse. Eight straight Huskies reached to begin the inning before Nebraska recorded a single out. By the end of the frame UConn had recorded six singles, drew three walks and had a batter hit by a pitch to score seven runs.
In the final two innings, the Huskers used a total of six different pitchers.
If Nebraska had been able to pull off the win, it would have gone on to have a rematch with Oklahoma State for the regional title. Instead, UConn will have that chance and Nebraska’s season has come to an end.