Nick Sullivan had three hits and drove in a pair of runs, but Texas Tech erupted for 12 runs in their final two at-bats to take the opening game of the three-game series, 16-8, Saturday afternoon at Dan Law Field.
Sullivan paced a 13-hit attack for Nebraska, which built a 6-4 lead after six and a half innings before Texas Tech scored seven times in the bottom of the seventh and tacked on five more runs in the eighth to cruise to victory.
Tyler Farst, Jeff Tezak and Jake Mort had two hits apiece as the Huskers (10-4-1, 0-1 Big 12) saw their five-game win streak snapped. Taylor Ashby led the Red Raiders (7-9, 1-0 Big 12), going 4-for-5 with three RBIs and scored three times. Joey Kentworthy had three RBIs while Scott LeJuene had three hits and drove in a pair of runs for the victors, as Texas Tech pounded out a season-high 17 hits.
Brian Cloud (2-2) earned the victory for Texas Tech in relief, while Eric Rose (2-2) took the loss, allowing two earned runs in the fateful seventh.
Nebraska struck first in the top of the second, stringing together four hits and taking advantage of a costly dropped pop-up to push across a pair of runs. With one out and a runner on first, Sullivan’s double to left put runners on second and third before Ben Kline’s sacrifice fly to center made it a 1-0 lead. Cody Asche then popped up the first pitch from Tech starter Miles Morgan, but Jeremy Mayo was unable to handle it behind the plate for an error. Asche made the most of the opportunity, lining an RBI single to right to score Sullivan with the Huskers’ second run.
The Red Raiders got one of the runs back in the bottom of the frame to pull within 2-1. Chris Richburg opened the inning with a double, moved to third on a ground out and eventually scored on a wild pitch.
In the fourth, Texas Tech took advantage of a pair of balk calls to take its first lead of the afternoon. With one out, Taylor Ashby walked, moved to second on a balk and scored three batters later on Willie Rueda’s RBI single to left. Moments later the Red Raiders loaded the bases, as Michael Reed was hit by a pitch. Nesseth had seemingly gotten out of the inning by striking out Kentworthy, but first base umpire Bill McGuire called a balk on Nesseth prior to the pitch, pushing across the second run of the inning.
Tech extended its lead to 4-2 in the fifth as Ashby’s RBI single scored LeJune, who singled with one out and stole second, but the Huskers would come back in the sixth with three runs to regain the lead to 5-4.
A hit batter and a two-base error on Texas Tech got the Huskers going in the frame, putting runners on second and third with no outs. Cody Neer drove one run on a ground out to short before Sullivan’s second hit of the game, an RBI single to center, tied the score at four. Ben Kline then executed a perfect hit and run, putting runners on the corners and chasing the Red Raider starter. Mort came off the bench to face Robert Kilcrease and came through with an RBI single to score Sullivan.
Sullivan came through in the seventh again, extending the margin to 6-4 on a two-out RBI single. With one out, singles by Farst and Jeff Tezak put runners on the corners before Sullivan’s seeing-eye single found its way through the hole past short to score Farst.
Husker starter Mike Nesseth worked his way through six frames before walking Richburg to open the seventh. Eric Rose came in and allowed a pair of singles, including a perfectly placed bunt single to Justin Berry to load the bases. Ashby then greeted Casey Hauptman with a two-run single to left to tie the score. Tech loaded the bases again with a bunt single from Garrett Totten before Jeremy Mayo gave Tech the lead for good with an RBI single before an error on Adam Bailey allowed another run to score. Matt Freeman came in the game in relief, but could not get the Huskers out of the jam, issuing two bases loaded walks before Richburg’s sacrifice fly capped the inning.
The Huskers chipped away at the lead in the eighth, loading the bases on hit-by-pitch, a walk and an error, but could only pull within 11-8 after sacrifice flies from Bailey and Farst. The momentum would be quickly lost, as a Husker muscue helped the Red Red Raiders put up five runs in the bottom of the inning, including a two-run single by Kentworthy.
Notes: Nick Sullivan tied or set season-bests in hits (three) and RBIs (two)… Tyler Farst extended his hit streak to 11 games with a third-inning single….The 16 runs allowed were a season-high, as the previous high was 12 against Missouri State on Feb. 27…Mike Nesseth pitched at least six innings for the fourth time in as many outings…the seven runs scored by Texas Tech in the seventh was the highest single-inning total this year…Boomer Collins made his first appearance in the field since breaking his thumb on Feb. 21, going 0-for-2 on the day.
Courtesy: Nebraska Media Relations