Jordan Roualdes turned in a solid start, but Nebraska’s comeback bid fell short in a 3-2 loss to Missouri State Sunday afternoon at the Sam Houston Baseball Classic.
Roualdes (0-1) gave the Huskers’ third straight quality outing this weekend, allowed three runs on five hits over six-plus innings, but the Husker offense was held in check for most of the day by Missouri state starter Buddy Baumann and Pat Doyle, who combined to toss a six hitter for the Bears (2-5).
Baumann, making his first start of the year, was sharp, allowing one hit – a first-inning by Jeff Tezak - over five innings to earn the victory. The left-hander fanned five and did not allow a Husker into scoring position after Tezak singled and stole second in the top of the first.
Tezak and Kyle Bubak had two hits apiece, combining for most of the Huskers’ offensive output, while Kale Kiser and Tyler Farst drove in a run apiece, as the Huskers (5-3-1) played their fourth one-run game in nine contests.
Missouri State jumped ahead 2-0 lead against Roualdes in the bottom of the third after two-out RBI singles from Zak Swyhart and Ben Carlson. A pair of one-out walks to Curt Courtwright and Aaron Conway gave the Bears their first scoring threat of the afternoon. Swyhart put the Bears on the board two batters later with an RBI single to left before Carlson made it 2-0 lead with a run-scoring single to right.
The third inning was the only frame where Roualdes ran into major trouble on Sunday, as the left-hander did not allow another runner into scoring position the rest of the afternoon.
Early on, the Huskers were unable to muster any sustained rallies, hitting into three inning-ending double plays over the first six innings against Bears pitching, snuffing out opportunities in the second, fifth and sixth innings.
Nebraska, which managed one hit in the first six frames, finally got on the board in the seventh against Doyle. Consecutive singles by Adam Bailey and Farst put runners on first and second with no outs. Ben Kline laid down a bunt that Doyle went to third to nip Bailey at third for the first out. Two batters later, Bubak’s infield single kept the inning alive and loaded the bases before Kiser drew a pinch hit walk, scoring Farst with the Huskers’ first run.
Missouri State got the run back in their half of the seveth to extend the lead to 3-1. Roualdes issued a leadoff walk to Travis McComack to open the game before he eventually came around to score on a Kevin Medrano’s two-out RBI single to left off of reliever Casey Hauptman.
Nebraska had a golden opportunity to tie the score in the eighth, pulling within 3-2 on a Farst sacrifice fly. Sullivan opened the inning by drawing his second walk of the afternoon before a Tezak single and a subsequent error on Missouri State left fielder Zak Swyhark put runners on second and third with no out. After Bailey fouled out, Farst lofted a fly ball to right to score Sullivan, but Doyle got out of the jam by getting Ben Kline to pop out.
The Huskers threatened again against Doyle in the ninth, as Bubak singled with one out before Kiser reached on an error to get the tying run into scoring position. Doyle, who pitched the final four innings for the save, beared down and struck out DJ Belfonte for the second out before Sullivan’s smash up the middle was fielded by a diving Courtwright behind the bag at second, as he flipped to McComack covering at second for a game-ending fielder’s choice.
The Huskers begin a five-game homestand this week, as they take on South Dakota State on Tuesday afternoon at 1:35 p.m. The game will be carried on selected Husker Sports Network stations and on the Internet at Huskers.com. Tickets for all five games are available at Huskers.com or by calling the NU Ticket Office at 800-8-BIGRED.