Behind three RBI’s from Chad Christensen and a home run each by Josh Scheffert and Pat Kelly, the Nebraska baseball team (11-6, 0-0 Big Ten) came back to beat the South Dakota State Jackrabbits by a score of 12-3 after trailing, 2-0, going into the bottom of the fourth inning. Playing their fifth game in five days, the Huskers hammered out 15 hits, including three from freshman Austin Darby, as well as two hits each from six other Huskers in front of 2,258 fans at Hawks Field.
Darby’s career-high three hits were capped by his first career double, while Christensen improved his team-leading RBI total to 19 with a single and a double. Scheffert homered for the second straight game and Kelly’s homer to lead off the bottom of the eighth was his first career four bagger as a Husker.
Freshman Aaron Bummer picked up his first win as a Husker with 2.1 perfect innings in relief of NU starter Dexter Spitsnogle. Bummer came in with two outs in the bottom of the third and retired seven straight Jackrabbits, including two strikeouts. Brandon Pierce and Travis Huber were also tough on the SDSU lineup, as the two relievers combined to give up no hits, one walk and struck out three over the final 2.1 innings of the game.
The Jackrabbits threw the first punch of the afternoon with a two-run home run by catcher Zach Briggs in the first inning. SDSU starter Talon Jumper only allowed one hit over the first three inning before the Huskers tied the game at 2-2 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth. Rich Sanguinetti led off the inning with a single and stole second to get in scoring position. Richard Stock plated Sanguinetti with his 13th RBI of the season on a single to center field. Stock eventually moved to third base and tied the game on an RBI groundout by Blake Headley.
Nebraska took the lead in the fifth with two runs off just one hit and two Jackrabbit errors. Kelly led off the inning with a single and was at second with two outs when Christensen reached on a fielding error by Andrew Melton at third base that also allowed Kelly to score. Following a walk to Stock, Kash Kalkowski hit a dibbler back to the pitcher’s mound, but Blake Fiedelman threw the ball over the Jackrabbits’ first baseman, which scored Christensen from second.
After the Jackrabbits cut the Husker lead to just two, 5-3, with a run in the top of the seventh, the Huskers responded with three runs in the bottom of the frame. Stock got the offense going with a one-out single, which prompted Head Coach Darin Erstad to pinch hit Josh Scheffert for Ty Kildow. Scheffert blasted the first pitch he saw deep into left field and nearly put the ball out of the entire facility for his second home run in two days and the first pinch-hit homer by a Husker since Kyle Bubak against Southeast Missouri State on May 8, 2010. Darby then laid down a bunt single and stole both second and third base, before scoring on a single from Headley.
The Huskers scored four more runs in the bottom of the eighth off five hits to put the game away for good. Kelly led off the inning with his first home run, while Kale Kiser and Sanguinetti followed with a walk and a single to set the table for Christensen. The Husker shortstop drove in both his teammates with a double, but was out on the play trying to stretch the hit into a triple. Later, Scheffert posted his second hit in two innings with two down and scored from first on Darby’s double down the right field line.
After playing five games in five days, the Huskers will take tomorrow off before hosting Louisiana Tech for a four-game series at Hawks Field starting on Thursday at 3:05 p.m. All fans eighth grade and younger will receive free general admission to both Thursday and Friday’s games with the Bulldogs. Youth that are age six and younger always receive free general admission to Hawks Field.