Ruston, La. - The Nebraska baseball team (5-9, 0-0 Big Ten) split a doubleheader with the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon, as the Huskers picked up their first road win of the season with a 3-2 win in the series finale. A strong outing from NU starter Brandon Pierce, along with a three-run sixth inning helped the Huskers avoid a three-game sweep by the Bulldogs.
Pierce delivered his best start of the season in the win to improve to 1-2 on the year, as the righty gave the Huskers a season-high 6.0 innings. Pierce tied a career high with six strikeouts, while giving up one run on four hits and no walks. The junior from Gunter, Texas, retired the Bulldogs in order three times on the afternoon and never faced more than four batters in an inning.
The Huskers received nearly all of its production out of their first five hitters in the lineup, including a 2-for-4 day from Austin Darby and two RBIs from Josh Scheffert.
After putting just two runners on base through the first five innings, including one hit, the Husker bats broke through with three runs on four hits in the top of the sixth inning. Wes Edrington led off with walk, stole second and moved to third on a bunt single by Michael Pritchard. Darby followed with a single that scored Edrington, giving Nebraska a 1-0 lead, its first lead of the weekend. Chad Christensen then dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move Pritchard and Darby into scoring position, and nearly beat the throw to load the bases. With one down, Scheffert blasted a double into the left-field gap to give the Huskers a 3-0 lead. Pat Kelly followed with a bloop single to right, before La Tech retried the next two Husker hitters to end the frame.
The Bulldogs were able to cut Nebraska's lead to one, 3-2, in the seventh with a pair of runs on three hits. After Pierce gave up a leadoff single to Jacob Derouen, Caleb Hawkins came in and produced a strikeout before giving up a single to Bre'Shon Kimbell. With runners on the corners, Ryan Gebhardt came through with a pinch-hit sacrifice fly to score Derouren. Corey White then blasted a double into the left field corner to score Kimbell. With the tying run in scoring position, Head Coach Darin Erstad brought in Josh Roeder, who retired pinch-hitter Austin Hedges with one pitch to end the inning.
Nebraska came back and had a pair of runners in scoring position with two outs in the eighth, but reliever Dakota Doss struck out Kash Kalkowski to stop Nebraska from adding any insurance. Roeder came back to the mound in the bottom of the eighth and sent the Bulldogs down in order, preserving Nebraska's 3-2 lead heading into the ninth.
Dylan Vogt closed the door with a perfect ninth inning, as he retired La Tech's 4-5-6 hitters in order to earn his third save of the season.
The Huskers will be back on the road next weekend when they open a three-game series in California with the UC Irvine Anteaters. Following a three-game set in Irvine, the Huskers will stay in the Los Angeles area and play a pair of games at Cal State Fullerton on Tuesday, March 19 and Wednesday March 20. From California, the Huskers head straight to Champaign, Ill., for their Big Ten opener with the Illinois Fighting Illini on Friday, March 22.