Behind a complete-game performance from Mike Nesseth, the Nebraska baseball team opened a four-game series with Cal State Northridge with a 9-3 victory Friday afternoon.
Nesseth improved to 2-1 on the year, as the sophomore went the distance for the first time in his career. The right-hander fanned seven and scattered six hits in becoming the first Husker to earn a complete-game win since Thad Weber last March.
“(That’s) exactly what we want,” Nebraska Coach Mike Anderson said. “As we get closer to conference play, the more we can get a guy can go and extend himself and do those things on a Friday night, that helps the whole series.”
On the year, Nesseth is 2-1 with a 1.71 ERA, fanning 26 over 21 innings. He has pitched into the sixth in all three outings, while allowing just 11 hits in three starts.
The Huskers (7-3-1) staked Nesseth all the run support he needed in the second, scoring five times off of Cal State Northridge starter Ryan McCarney (0-1), as the Huskers sent 10 men to the plate in the inning.
After a Tyler Farst leadoff double, Nick Sullivan got the Huskers on the board with a RBI single to right. Two outs sandwiched around a Ben Kline single put runners on first and second for Belfonte, who came through with an RBI single to give the hosts a 2-0 lead. Kyle Bubak walked to load the bases before Jeff Tezak coaxed a four-pitch walk to plate another run. Adam Bailey made it 5-0 moments later, slapping a 2-2 offering into center for a two-run single.
Belfonte, who was hitting just .195 on the season before Friday, led the Husker attack, going 3-for-4, while Farst, who went 2-for-4 and scored twice, and Bailey, who drove in three more runs to up his season total to 18, also had two hits apiece.
“Beside two pitches and two guys getting picked off, it’s a pretty good day all the way around,” Anderson said of the Huskers’ 12-hit attack, as they improved to 3-0 at home.
Nesseth allowed only one hit and faced the minimum for 4.2 innings until Cal State Northridge (5-5) used the long ball to get on the scoreboard. Richard Cates was hit by a pitch before Ryan Pineda’s third homer of the year put the Matadors on the scoreboard. Moments later, Dominic D’Anna made it a 5-3 lead with his third homer, a solo shot to right center, but the Husker right-hander got out of the inning and would not allow another run the rest of the afternoon.
The Huskers chased McCarney, who allowed six runs on seven hits, in the bottom of the sixth. Sullivan drew a walk off the starter before pinch-hitter Jake Mort laid down a perfect sacrifice to move Sullivan to scoring position. Two batters later, Cory Burleson made it a 6-3 lead with an RBI single to right.
The Huskers tacked on three more runs on the Matador bullpen in the seventh, getting an RBI double from Bailey, a run-scoring single from Farst and a safety squeeze from Mort to account for the final margin.
The Huskers and Cal State Northridge continue the series with a doubleheader Saturday afternoon. First pitch is set for 1:05 p.m. and the game will be an internet-only broadcast on Huskers.com. Live video streaming will also be available on HuskersNside.