Nick Sullivan homered and drove in a pair of runs, but Oklahoma State used a strong pitching performance by Tyler Blandford to salvage the finale of the three-game series by a score of 6-3 Sunday afternoon.
Sullivan went 2-for-4 and drove in two of the Huskers’ three runs on the day, highlighted by his first homer of the season to pull Nebraska within three runs in the seventh inning, but Nebraska (14-7-1, 3-3 Big 12) was held to three hits on the afternoon to snap its three-game win streak.
Blandford was outstanding for Oklahoma State (15-7, 1-2 Big 12), allowing only three hits over eight-plus innings while fanning 11 Huskers to improve to 4-0 on the season.
“It was a tough day for us, you have to give him (Blandford) a lot of credit,” Nebraska Coach Mike Anderson said. “The one thing I told our kids is I thought that we gave him credit, but we gave it to him too soon. I thought in the second or third inning we started to adjust, but in a negative way. We started to speed up our bats and tried to do a little bit too much.”
Oklahoma State took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second on Davis Duran’s RBI single before the Huskers tied it up in the bottom of the frame on Sullivan’s first hit of the day. Wth two outs and Jeff Tezak on second, Sullivan lined a Blandford offering into center, plating Tezak with the tying run.
The Cowboys came right back against NU starter Michael Mariot, stringing together four hits in the top of the third to extend the margin to 4-1 after run-scoring singles from Kevin David and Dean Green and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Doug Kroll. Mariot (1-2) took the loss, allowing four runs on eight hits over three innings of work.
Nebraska pulled closer in the sixth, getting within 4-2 after scoring a run without a base hit. Kyle Bubak reached on a one-out walk, stole second and eventually came around to score after two wild pitches from Blandford, including one that kept the inning alive after he struck out Adam Bailey for the third out of the inning.
Green then gave the Cowboys some breathing room in the seventh, belting a two-run homer off reliever Sean Yost to make it a 6-3 lead. Neil Medchill, who had three hits, doubled to open the inning before Green’s second homer of the year, a two-run shot to right, pushing the margin to three runs. Green went 3-for-5 with three RBIs and two runs scored for OSU, which out-hit the Huskers, 11-3.
Sullivan’s solo homer to right pulled the Huskers within 6-3, but Nebraska was unable to muster any late-inning heroics. In the ninth, NU got the leadoff runner on as Tyler Farst was hit by a Blandford pitch, but Randy McCurry set down the next three Huskers in order for his sixth save.
The Huskers will return to action on Tuesday evening, as they host Northern Colorado beginning at 6:05 p.m. The game will be carried on Huskers.com and selected IMG Husker Sports Network stations.
Notes: Nebraska saw its eight-game home win streak snapped on Sunday...NU’s three hits tied a season low, also set at UL-Lafayette on Feb. 21...Adam Bailey saw his team-high 13-game hit streak snapped, as he had hit safely in every game since Feb. 28...NU falls to 3-2 against ranked opponents this season...Eric Rose tied his career high with two innings of work and he has now appeared in a team-high 13 games, including each of the last five contests...OSU picks up its second win in 12 tries at Hawks Field...Sullivan’s two RBIs ties a season high set two other times....Jake Mort’s two errors marked his second two-error game in 153 career games, and his first as a third baseman...he also committed two errors in the 2007 Big 12 Tournament against Kansas State when he was playing shortstop...Mort also saw his eight-game hit streak snapped on Sunday, as it equaled the longest hit streak of his career