Fullerton, Calif. - The Nebraska baseball team (6-12, 0-0 Big Ten) dropped a heartbreaker on Tuesday night at Goodwin Field, as No. 8 Cal State Fullerton plated the game-winning run in the bottom of the 11th inning with a bases-loaded walk to pull out an 8-7 win.
Austin Kingsolver was HBP to start the bottom of the 11th and moved to third following an intentional walk to Michael Lorenzen to load the bases with two downs. NU relieve Josh Roeder got a pop out off the bat of Carolos Lopez for the second out of the inning, brining Jared Deacon to the plate. Roeder made a close pitch at 2-2, but it was called a ball, and then Roeder missed low to walk Deacon and force home the game-winning run.
Michael Pritchard and Rich Sanguinetti each had three hits to lead the Huskers to a season-high 14 hits, while Kingsolver led the Titans with three hits and Lorenzen produced three RBIs.
The Huskers took an early lead, starting with a pair of singles from Austin Darby and Josh Scheffert, before Blake Headley loaded the bases with a bunt single. Taylor Fish plated the first run of the game on a groundout to notch his second RBI of the season. Bryan Peters kept the runs coming with a ground ball that Richy Pedroza couldn't handle at short, his second error of the game, allowing Scheffert to score. Following a sacrifice bunt that moved Peters into scoring position with two outs, Pat Kelly delivered an infield single to Pedroza that scored Headley and Peters also came around to score on Pedroza's second error of the inning when he tried to throw Kelly out at first. Pritchard kept up the pressure with NU's second bunt single of the inning, but Fullerton starter Koby Gauna was able to retire Chad Christensen to end the inning.
Fullerton evened the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the third with a pair of two-out singles. Kingsolver cut NU's lead in half with a two-out single and after NU starter Luke Bublitz loaded the bases with back-to-back walks, Lorenzen lined a single through the right side of the field to tie the game. Caleb Hawkins entered the game for Nebraska and retired Greg Velazquez to stop the Titans from taking the lead.
Nebraska retook the lead, 5-4, in the top of the fourth with a run on two singles. Pritchard produced his third hit of the game with two down to score Sanguinetti from second base, who had reached on a single and moved to second on a wild pitch.
The lead didn't last long, as Fullerton scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth to take a 6-5 lead. Deacon scored the tying run on a sacrifice fly from Keegan Dale and Austin Deimer gave the Titans the lead when he scored on a one-out single by Pedroza. Lefty reliever Aaron Bummer entered the game for NU and got a double play, as he struck out Kingsolver and Fish threw out Pedroza at second base.
The Huskers came right back in the fifth to tie the game at 6-6. Christensen led off the inning with his first hit of the game and moved to third when reliever Willie Kuhl threw the ball into right field on a failed pickoff attempt. After Darby struck out for the first out of the inning, Scheffert lifted a sacrifice fly deep into center field that plated Christensen.
Fullerton has the go-ahead run at third base with one out in the fifth, but Bummer got Velazquez to ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. The lefty then ended the sixth with a double play to keep the game tied, 6-6, with the go ahead run at second base.
Bummer slipped to start the seventh when he hit leadoff hitter Kingsolver, ending his day. Michael Hoppes came to the mound and couldn't get an out, as he gave up a double and a walk to load the bases, before hitting Lorenzen to put the Titans ahead, 7-6. With the bases loaded and no outs, Dylan Vogt came to the rescue, as he retired three straight Titans to keep Fullerton's lead to one run going to the eighth.
The Husker bats used the momentum created by Vogt to tie the game, 7-7, in the top of the eighth on a pair of hits. Darby led off with a single, stole second and moved to third on a throwing error by Fullerton's catcher. Scheffert followed with a single through the left side to score Darby. Scheffert was stranded at first, as Kuhl fired three straight strikeouts.
Vogt gave up a single to Dale to start the eighth, but then picked off the Titans' second baseman. Following a groundout by Pedroza, Kingsolver lined a triple down the right-field line, that would have scored Dale if he hadn't been picked off. With the go-ahead run at third base and No. 3 hitter Davis up, Vogt induced a ground ball to Peters at short to keep the game tied, 7-7, heading to the ninth.
Sanguinetti led off the ninth with his third hit of the game, setting the stage for Nebraska to take the lead. Sanguinetti then moved to second on a ground out by Pritchard and with Christensen batting and two down, Sanguinetti moved to third on a wild pitch. Kuhl walked Christensen, bringing Darby, a lefty, to the plate. Fullerton brought in lefty Tyler Peitzmeier, who got a groundout from Darby to end the Husker ninth.
The Titans got the winning run in scoring position with two outs in the ninth, but Vogt delivered another shutout inning, as he got a ground out from Deacon to send the game to extra innings.
Nebraska got a two-out single from Lubach in the top of the 10th, but Peitzmeier stranded him there when he retired Peters.
Roeder took the mound for the Huskers in the bottom of the 10th and made quick work of the Titans with a 1-2-3 inning.
The Huskers got their leadoff man on for the third time in four innings, but were unable to plate the go-ahead run. Sanguinetti worked a walk to start the 11th, before Peitzmeier struck out Kelly and Pritchard. With Christensen coming to the plate, Fullerton brought in righty Michael Lopez. Lopez threw one pitch and catcher Deacon threw out Sanguinetti stealing to keep the game tied, 7-7, going to the bottom of the 11th.
The Huskers conclude their five-game trip to the state of California tomorrow night when they return to Goodwin Field for an 8 p.m. (CT) meeting with the Titans. Nebraska travels to Champaign, Ill., on Thursday for its Big Ten opener on Friday against the Illinois Fighting Illini.