s-BaseballSeasonPreview

Cam Chick (29) prepares for his turn at bat at the baseball exhibition against Creighton at Haymarket Park on Sept. 17, 2021, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Despite shutting out both teams through the first 17 innings of their Friday doubleheader and beating Northwestern State 2-0, the Huskers fell apart in the bottom of the ninth inning against the University of Texas at Arlington in game two, losing 4-3 and splitting their doubleheader Friday afternoon.

In game one, senior pitcher Koty Frank made his starter debut, pitching a scoreless six and two thirds innings with 10 strikeouts and only five hits.

Nebraska couldn't do much offensively in the first game, as it was retired in order to start.

Junior left handed pitcher and Lincoln, Nebraska native Cal Carver got the starting nod for Northwestern State and put on a pitching duel with Frank as he also had eight strikeouts in six innings pitched.

Demons third baseman Bryce Holmes ripped one into right field for a two-out single in the bottom of the first inning, followed by a standup double down the left field line from Demons sophomore catcher Bo Willis. Frank got sophomore outfielder Broch Holmes to swing half heartedly at a ball outside the zone, getting the final out of the inning and leaving two on base for the Demons.

In the second inning, Demons leadoff batter freshman first baseman Gray Rowlett doubled to left center field to keep the momentum in their favor. After a wild pitch from Frank that advanced Rowlett to third, sophomore shortstop Bryce Matthews snagged a line drive to get the first out for the Huskers.

With guys on the corner and one out, senior shortstop Cam Sibley was hit by a pitch. Now, with the bases loaded, Frank got Fontenot to ground into a 6-4-3 double play stranding three runners on base and ending the inning.

Junior outfielder Luke Sartori made a diving grab in the third inning to continue the stellar fielding display put on by Nebraska. The score remained knotted at 0-0 heading into the sixth inning.

In the Huskers half of the sixth inning, the bats finally came alive.

Matthews singled on a hot line drive to left field before stealing second base during senior catcher Griffin Everitt’s at-bat. Everitt then unloaded on the baseball, homering to left field and scoring Matthews as the Huskers finally got on the scoreboard, up 2-0.

With one out left in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Huskers pulled Frank for sophomore left handed pitcher Emmett Olson, who got the last out of the inning.

With Olson on the mound in the seventh, the Demons couldn’t muster anything on offense, recording zero hits in the final three innings. The Huskers picked up their second win of the season 2-0.

Entering game two with momentum on its side and ace left handed pitcher Kyle Perry on the mound, Nebraska’s defense once again led the way in spectacular fashion.

Both Perry and Mavericks senior starting pitcher Michael Wong made it through five innings before getting pulled. Perry gave up just five hits while striking out five batters and walking none, a huge bounceback performance after giving up three earned runs in just four innings pitched against TCU last friday.

Wong struck out five batters as well in the contest, giving up his lone earned run in the fifth inning.

After back-to-back singles from freshman designated hitter Josh Caron and sophomore first baseman Jack Steil, Wong worked the Huskers into two outs. The Huskers still got on the board with a sacrifice fly from Everitt, leading Caron home from third, 1-0.

Continuing the hitting party for the Huskers in the top of the sixth inning, freshman outfielder Luke Jessen singled with one out, followed by a Caron walk, putting two men on base for Steil.

A hot liner up the middle by Steil was slowed heavily after bouncing off the pitching mound, yet was enough to get him safely to first, loading the bases for senior second baseman Efry Cervantes. 

With the lead still only at one run, Cervantes sent a ball high and deep to right field, forcing Mavericks sophomore outfielder Wilson Galvan to backtrack to make the catch. Both Jessen and Caron scored to put the Huskers up 3-0.

Husker junior reliever Mason Ornelas came in for Perry in the bottom of the sixth inning against the Mavericks, picking up where Perry left off in the ballgame. Through two innings pitched, Ornelas walked one batter while giving up zero hits.

Coming in for Ornelas in the eighth inning, junior left handed pitcher Ethan Bradford continued to keep the Mavericks off the scoreboard — they hit only one single in the inning.

The Huskers’ bats cooled off at the end of game two, as their only hit in the final two innings came from Cervantes in the eighth. After another pitching change for the Huskers entering the final frame, things got interesting.

Senior pitcher Colby Gomes came in for the save and the Huskers were  immediately in trouble as Galvan doubled to right center field to begin the bottom of the ninth inning. Freshman infielder Cade Sumbler scored Galvan on a deep double to right center with one out, finally getting the Mavericks on the scoreboard, down 3-1.

Gomes continued to struggle. He hit sophomore Matthew Cavanagh, putting players on first and second base. Junior infielder Steven Saunders came in to pinch hit for the Mavericks, singling to right field and loading the bases for the Mavericks with the score still 3-1.

Still with only one out, the Mavericks pinch hit another man. Sophomore infielder Matt Lumsden made contact off Gomes, hitting a blooper to left field and scoring Sumbler from third, with the score now 3-2.

Pulling out all the stops, the Mavericks then decided to pinch run sophomore Nick Pierce for Saunders at second. Facing the next man at-bat, Gomes forced an infield popout for the second to last out of the ball game. Redshirt-freshman outfielder Zach Henry then came up to the plate and delivered the game tying single down the third base line.

With the bases loaded and two men out, Gomes ended his day with four straight balls to senior Oscar Ponce, walking in the game-winning run for the Mavericks as they came back to win down three runs, 4-3.

After shutting out NWSU in the first game and lights out pitching from Perry, Ornelas, and Bradford in game two, Nebraska split their doubleheader moving them to 2-7 on the season as they prepare to face both teams again on Saturday in Arlington, Texas.

sports@dailynebraskan.com