Lincoln, Neb. - Nebraska (27-19, 6-12) took one-run leads in the first and second innings on All-American pitcher Taylor Jungmann but was unable to score over the last seven innings as No. 5 Texas scratched across five runs on five NU pitchers to take a 5-3 win over the Huskers on Friday night at Hawks Field.
Jungmann went 8.0 innings and gave up three runs - one earned - on five hits to improve to 11-0 on 12 starts this season. Nebraska starter Logan Ehlers threw 3.1 innings and left the game in a 3-3 tie before Matt Freeman threw 3.0 solid innings of relief and gave up the eventual game-winning run that was inherited by Brandon Pierce in the seventh inning.
"That's a tough one for us," head coach Mike Anderson said. "I thought the kids had a good approach. (Taylor) Jungmann is pretty good. He settled in there in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth. He did a good job, got deep in the game with a lot of pitches. He just got stronger. Give him a lot of credit."
Fighting in a tied ballgame, Tant Shepherd started the seventh with a leadoff single and was sacrificed to second by Erich Weiss. Pierce came into the game and struck out Cohl Walla before Paul Montabano hit a 1-2 pitch into center field for an RBI single to give Texas a 4-3 lead. Freeman was otherwise impressive in his sixth relief outing of the season, giving up only two hits and striking out a pair before the leadoff single to Shepherd. Freeman fell to 5-5 with the loss.
Nebraska took a 1-0 lead in the first on a pair of infield singles and an RBI groundout by Kurt Farmer. Michael Pritchard singled to shortstop to start the game and advanced to third on Cody Asche's hard-hit single off second baseball Jordan Etier. Farmer then lined a 3-2 pitch to first base, where Shepherd could not control the liner but regrouped to record the out as Pritchard came down the line to score. That run marked just the seventh earned run Jungmann has given up all season.
After the Longhorns scored a pair in the top of the second on a 2-run homer by Jonathan Walsh, NU took the lead back in the bottom half with two unearned runs on one hit and an error. Chad Christensen and Patric Tolentino both drew 1-out walks before Tanner Krietemeier's grounder to second resulted in a throwing error by Etier and scored Christensen. Jungmann then uncorked a wild pitch that scored Tolentino to give the Huskers a 3-2 lead.
Nebraska's slim advantage was short-lived again when the Longhorns tied the game in the third on Walla's sacrifice fly to short left field near the foul line. Asche took a leadoff walk in the third before Jungmann retired 12 straight Huskers. Christensen ended the stretch with a leadoff single in the seventh but was left stranded with Pritchard on first and second. Nebraska threatened again in the eighth after Asche's leadoff infield single and Kiser's 1-out walk, but neither came around to score as two of seven runners left on base on the night.
Corey Knebel recorded his 15th save of the season in the ninth by retiring the Huskers in order.
"I thought some of our disappointment, a tough at-bat maybe carried into the next," Anderson said. "We lost that initial aggressiveness that we had. I thought we had a very good plan and I thought our offense came out and executed our plan really well. Texas did a good job of keeping them in it early with a lot of those runs and then they punched a few across late to pull away. It's disappointing, but I thought the kids played hard. We just didn't get enough hits."
Nebraska and Texas return to Hawks Field for the second game of the series Saturday afternoon at 2:05 p.m. For tickets, log on to Huskers.com or call 1-800-8-BIG-RED.