After falling in its opening game on Friday, Nebraska baseball rebounded, winning one game of its doubleheader on Saturday. The Huskers dropped the first game 5-1 in seven innings, and held on to win the second game 12-9.
Nebraska jumped up to an early lead in game one. In the top of the second inning, senior catcher Griffin Everitt reached base on an error, and advanced to third on a single by freshman designated hitter Luke Jessen. Junior center fielder Luke Sartori drove in Everitt on the single, giving the Huskers their lone run in the contest.
In the bottom of the third, Sam Houston State broke the game open with a monster offensive showing. The first two Bearkat batters reached base on a single and a fielding error, putting runners at first and third.
Sophomore center fielder Clayton Chadwick opened the scoring for Sam Houston State, putting a runner past the plate on a double to right-center field, tying the game at one. Senior first baseman Tyler Davis then hit a single to sophomore shortstop Brice Matthews, who missed the flip throw to second, allowing another run to score.
Davis’ single loaded the bases, with a run added shortly thereafter sophomore second baseman Easton Loyd drew a walk. A sacrifice fly by senior designated hitter Trent Touchet plated another run, and Sam Houston State went up 4-1.
The Huskers only managed two hits the rest of the contest, with Bearkat sophomore pitcher Coltin Atkinson shutting down the Nebraska bats. Atkinson struck out seven batters en route to his first win of the season.
Sam Houston State tacked on one more run in the bottom of the fifth. The inning began with a statement triple from junior third baseman Justin Wishkoski. Junior pitcher Ethan Bradford almost got out of the jam, retiring the next two batters, but Loyd singled to plate Wishkoski and give the Bearkats the ultimate 5-1 lead.
Nebraska wasted no time flipping the script in the second game. Junior right fielder Leighton Banjoff led off the game with a double, with Jessen following up with a single. Sophomore third baseman Max Anderson put Banjoff across the plate with a single to right field. Junior first baseman Colby Gomes plated Jessen with a sac fly. Nebraska quickly eclipsed its run total from the first game, going up 2-0.
The offensive explosion continued, with Everitt doubling to score Anderson. The fourth run of the opening frame came on a Sam Houston State fielding error. Sartori hit a grounder to sophomore shortstop Anthony MacKenzie, who booted the ball before he could field it, scoring Everitt.
The four hits in the opening frame tied the Huskers’ total from the first half of the doubleheader.
The Huskers nearly followed it up by retiring the side, with the first two batters going down in just four pitches. Wishkoski then hit a grounder to Matthews, who had an opportunity to end the inning, but the throw was off, allowing Wishkoski to reach base. Junior left fielder Carlos Contreras then plated Wishkoski on a line drive down the left field line. Davis flipped the field, doubling down the right field line to score Wishkoski and cut the Husker lead to 4-2.
Nebraska’s scoring explosion continued in the second inning, scoring five runs despite only having two hits. Returning to the top of the order, Banjoff walked, Jessen singled and Anderson was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Gomes then walked, extending the Nebraska lead to 5-2. Getting his first hit of the season, Matthews hit a two-run double to put Nebraska up 7-2. Down to the final out of the inning, senior left fielder Cam Chick hit a slow roller to MacKenzie, who sailed the throw to first, allowing Matthews and Gomes to cross the plate.
Sam Houston State cut into the 9-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning, with Touchet scoring on a fielder’s choice.
The Huskers made up for that single run in the top of the fifth, with a Banjoff single scoring Chick. An Everitt groundout in the top of the eighth scored Anderson, extending the Husker lead to 11-3.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Sam Houston State made a furious rally, scoring four runs to cut the lead to four.
A walk, error, and single loaded the bases with no outs for the Bearkats. Junior infielder Luke Repka put two of the baserunners across the plate with a pinch-hit double, cutting the lead to 11-5. A wild pitch by Husker freshman pitcher CJ Hood scored another run, with a sac fly scoring Repka to cut the Husker lead down to 11-7.
Nebraska got a little breathing room back in the top of the ninth. Redshirt freshman right fielder Garrett Anglim doubled to right field, putting a runner in scoring position with one out. Anglim advanced to third on a single, and scored on a Banjoff sacrifice fly to extend the Husker lead to five, 12-7.
Senior pitcher Jake Bunz was brought in to close the final three outs in the bottom of the ninth. Expected to be a major part of the Huskers’ bullpen, Bunz injured his throwing elbow just four pitches into the top of the ninth inning.
Bunz was replaced by freshman pitcher Drew Christo, who had a rough outing in his collegiate debut. Christo hit the first batter he faced, and then gave up the first home run of the series to Touchet, trimming the Husker lead to three.
Gomes came in to close for the Huskers, putting away the final outs to secure the first victory of the season for Nebraska.
The series concludes at 1 p.m. on Sunday in Huntsville, Texas.