Nebraska lost its fourth game of its first five, falling 4-1 to No. 17 TCU in the first game of a weekend series at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, home of the MLB’s Texas Rangers.
The game was closer than the three-run gap indicates, with the teams equaling each other with six hits apiece. Nebraska’s 10 runners left on base would prove to be the difference, as the Huskers could not close the gap late.
Senior pitcher Kyle Perry got his second start of the season for the Huskers. His performance was much improved from his first outing, going 4 1/3 innings with an impressive eight strikeouts.
TCU first claimed its lead on a third inning solo home run from senior shortstop Tommy Sacco, going up 1-0.
Sacco helped the Horned Frogs extend their lead in the bottom of the fifth. The leadoff batter walked, and Sacco singled to put the runner in scoring position. With two runners on base and his pitch count already at 89, Perry was pulled for senior pitcher Koty Frank.
A groundout advanced the runners to second and third, and the next batter was intentionally walked to load the bases. Freshman first baseman David Bishop sent all three baserunners home on a double that junior right fielder Leighton Banjoff couldn’t catch up to, extending the TCU lead to 4-0.
Aside from the double, Frank had a solid outing on the mound, staying in to finish the game. Frank gave up just two hits, struck out two batters and allowed one earned run.
Nebraska let some opportunities slip early, ending the third and fourth innings with double plays. Freshman left fielder Luke Jessen grounded into a double play to end the third frame, and Nebraska was caught in a strikeout-caught stealing combo to finish the fourth.
The Huskers had their best opportunity to get back into the game in the top of the seventh inning. Junior first baseman Colby Gomes led the inning off with a single to left field. Getting the leadoff runner on base was not a problem for Nebraska, as six of its nine leadoff batters reached base in the contest.
The first pitch of the following at-bat hit senior catcher Griffin Everitt, and senior center fielder Cam Chick singled to drive in Gomes, cutting the lead to 4-1. After getting its first three runners on base, TCU swiftly retired the next three, with three consecutive strikeouts finishing the frame.
Nebraska would have another promising chance in the top of the eighth. Banjoff walked to lead off the inning, but two subsequent outs put a Husker rally in jeopardy. Gomes singled to keep the inning alive, and a wild pitch put Gomes and Banjoff at second and third. Everitt drew a walk, and the Huskers loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth.
TCU reached into its bullpen, with sophomore closer River Ridings entering to face Chick, who had Nebraska’s only RBI of the game. Ridings’ 2-2 pitch caught the top of the strike zone while Chick held off, striking him out looking to stop the threat.
Ridings struck out two more batters in the top of the ninth, but a hit-by-pitch and single gave the Huskers one last chance with two outs. Freshman pinch hitter Gabe Swansen hit into a fielder’s choice, with the out at second ending the game.
The loss slides the Huskers to 1-4 on the season. Nebraska will look to bounce back on Saturday at 2 p.m.