Adam Bailey drove in a career-high six runs, while Khiry Cooper’s eighth-inning two-run single highlighted a five-run eighth inning, as Nebraska posted a 10-6 win over North Dakota Wednesday afternoon.
Bailey went 3-for-5 on the afternoon with a homer and six RBIs – the most runs driven in by a Husker since the 2006 season. Bailey ignited a four-run fifth inning with his second homer – a three-run shot into the bullpen in right - and added a pair of late insurance runs with a two-run double in the eighth.
Trailing 6-5, Nebraska (3-1-1) struck for five runs against South Dakota reliever Derek Biermaier, sending 10 men to the plate in the frame. With one out, Cory Burleson and Cody Asche coaxed walks before a Fighting Sioux error loaded the bases. Cooper, who went 1-for-4 and scored twice, came through with the game’s biggest hit, sending an 0-2 pitch into center for a two-run single to put Nebraska up 7-6. A walk to Jeff Tezak reloaded the bases before Tyler Farst’s bases-loaded walk from reliever David Lind scored Belfonte to give NU a two-run lead. Bailey then ripped a two-run double down the line in right for the final margin.
Farst went 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles, two RBIs and a pair of walks, while Asche went 2-for-3, as Nebraska won its 31st straight home opener and improved to 30-0 all-time in February home games.
Casey Hauptman (1-0) earned the victory in relief, allowing one run over the final 3.1 innings. The sophomore right-hander fanned three and got out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth to preserve the victory for Nebraska. Biermaier (0-2) took the loss, allowing five runs over two innings of work
For Nebraska Coach Mike Anderson, Wednesday’s win was a learning experience as Nebraska picked up its second last at-bat win and third come-from-behind win of the year.
“It’s going to be one of those years where we keep plugging away and doing some things,” Anderson said. “First and foremost, we can’t have that many walks, and we made it a close game today by giving up ten walks. We were fortunate because we faced a team that gave up some walks also. I’m glad that they responded and ended up winning the baseball game. I think we learned a valuable lesson and hopefully we get better because of it.”
After the teams traded runs early on, North Dakota took advantage of a costly passed ball, scoring three unearned runs to take a 4-1 lead in the top of the fifth on a three-run double off the bat of Andrew Gudmunson, who went 2-for-5 on the day.
The Huskers took their first lead in the bottom of the frame, loaded the bases on three walks before Farst drove a sacrifice fly to center, scoring DJ Belfonte to pull NU within 4-2. Bailey then sent a 2-0 pitch from reliever David Spies into the bullpen in right for his second homer of the year, putting NU ahead for the first time.
North Dakota (0-4) fought back, getting a run in the sixth on Josh Magner’s RBI single in the sixth to tie the score before regaining the lead in the top of the eighth, as Magner, who went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs came through with a two-out, run-scoring single to put the Fighting Sioux ahead by a run
The Huskers now travel to Huntsville, Texas, to play at Sam Houston State’s Tournament this weekend. NU will take on Missouri State on Friday and Sunday and will face St. Mary’s and Sam Houston State on Saturday.