Lincoln – Mitch Abeita’s RBI single in the 14th inning broke a 3-all deadlock, as sixth-ranked Nebraska rallied for a 4-3 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette Saturday night.
Abeita, who went 2-for-7 on the night, sent a full count pitch from Gregory Harmon into center, scoring Jake Mort from second with the go-ahead run, as the Huskers completed the doubleheader sweep with its second come-from-behind win of the day.
"We just figure out ways to win," Nebraska Coach Mike Anderson said after the Huskers’ eighth last at-bat win of the season. "We understand that they didn’t finish and we took advantage of it."
The Huskers (36-8-1) were down to their final out in the ninth before scoring twice off of Louisiana-Lafayette closer Justin Robichaux, taking advantage of a costly Ragin’ Cajun error.
With two outs and Bryce Nimmo on second, a wild pitch moved Nimmo to third before Opitz lined a single to center, putting the Huskers within a run. Mitch Abeita then hit a grounder to third, but Tyler Benzel’s throw skipped by the bag, allowing a hustling Opitz to score from first on the play, as he slid under the tag at the plate to send the game to extra innings.
ULL (22-25) had opportunities in each of the last five innings, but the Husker bullpen kept Nebraska in the game with clutch pitching. Relievers Dan Jennings, Mike Nesseth and Erik Bird combined for 14 strikeouts and allowed just three hits over the final eight innings. On the day, ULL hitters struck out a school-record 19 times, the most strikeouts by a Husker pitching staff since 1999.
Nesseth tossed a career-high 3.2 innings of no-hit relief with a personal best six strikeouts before Bird (4-1) fanned five over two innings for the victory, as ULL left the potential go-ahead run in scoring position in each of the five extra frames.
Harmon, the fourth pitcher used, took the loss, as he allowed an unearned run in 0.1 innings to fall to 1-2 on the year.
Early on the game shaped up as a pitchers’ duel between starters Aaron Pribanic and Michael Cook, who both pitched well but were long gone before the game was decided. Pribanic allowed two runs over five hits through six innings, while Cook was even better, surrendering one unearned run through seven innings, as he left with a 3-1 lead.
Louisiana-Lafayette got on the scoreboard in the fifth, scoring a pair of runs against Pribanic. With two outs and runners on first and second, Benzel’s one-out RBI double plated the first run before Matt Hicks made it a 2-0 lead, driving in Travis Whipple, who walked earlier in the frame, with ULL’s second run.
Nebraska got one of the runs back in the fifth, as DJ Belfonte’s ground out scored Abeita, who reached on a one-out single and moved to third on a Nick Sullivan double.
Louisiana-Lafayette got a seemingly crucial insurance run in the seventh, on Dillion Guillory’s RBI single that scored Scott Hawkins, who doubled and moved to third on a Jennings’ wild pitch, to make it a 3-1 game.
The Huskers will be off for finals before taking on Big 12 leader Texas A&M this weekend at Hawks Field. Tickets are on sale now by visiting Huskers.com or calling the NU Ticket Office at 800-8- BIGRED beginning Monday morning at 8 a.m.