Sinclair Shuts Down Bulldogs
Charleston, S.C. – A dominant outing from junior Chance Sinclair helped the Nebraska baseball team (5-5, 0-0 Big Ten) avoid a three-game sweep at The Citadel (6-6, 0-0 SoCon) on Sunday afternoon, as the Huskers shutout the Bulldogs, 4-0. It was Nebraska’s first shutout since downing Ohio State, 5-0, in an elimination game at last season’s Big Ten Tournament.
After Nebraska’s starters gave up four runs in the first inning of each of the first two games of the series, Sinclair broke the streak on Sunday by retiring The Citadel in order in the first and went on to retire the first five Bulldogs he faced. Overall, the Citadel had scored 18 runs on 20 hits through the first two games off Husker pitching, including 12 runs on 15 hits off Nebraska’s starters.
Sinclair, now 2-0 on the year, cruised through his 7.0 shutout innings, as he allowed only four hits and no walks, while striking out five. The junior never allowed a runner past second base and faced the minimum of three Bulldog batters in five of his seven innings. Sinclair, along with relievers Bob Greco and Josh Roeder didn’t allow a walk all day, while striking out seven Bulldogs.
Offensively, the Huskers took their first lead of the entire weekend in the top of the second, as the NU took advantage of a Citadel error with a two-out single from Blake Headley, one of his three hits on the afternoon. Nebraska continued to make The Citadel pay in the top of the third when NU cashed in three unearned runs on three Citadel errors.
Michael Pritchard extended his on-base streak to 51 straight games with RBI single in the third that scored Austin Darby, who reached on an error by second baseman Mason Davis. Citadel shortstop Jonathan Stokes then committed consecutive errors on ground balls off the bats of Pat Kelly and Tanner Lubach, loading the bases for freshman Bryce Only with two out. The Algonquin, Ill., native made the Bulldogs pay with a two-RBI single into the right-center field gap, pushing Nebraska’s lead to 4-0.
Sinclair went back to work and retired The Citadel in order in the bottom of the third and struck out the first batter he faced in the fourth, but Hughston Armstrong was able to reach on the strikeout on a wild pitch. Sinclair came right back to get a ground out and a strikeout before Drew DeKerlegand executed a hit-and-run that looked like it was going to give The Citadel runners on the corners until Pritchard delivered a perfect throw from left field that cut down Armstrong at third to end the inning.
The Husker outfield helped out Sinclair again in the seventh when Tyler Griffin roped a single to center and tried to stretch the hit into a double, but Ty Kildow fired a strike to Kelly at second base to get Griffin.
Greco and Roeder each threw an inning of scoreless relief to secure the shutout.
After playing 10-straight games on the road to start the season, the Huskers are scheduled to start at 10-game homestand at Hawks Field starting on Tuesday, March 4, at 1:35 p.m. against the Kansas State Wildcats. The Huskers then welcome the St. John’s Red Storm next weekend to Lincoln for a three-game series.