Los Angeles, Calif. - The Nebraska
baseball team (0-4, 0-0 Big Ten) took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth
inning on Sunday afternoon at Dedeaux Field, but a two-out single off the bat
Adam Landecker was enough to score Kevin Swick from second base to complete a
ninth-inning USC comeback.
Huskers had a pair of hits on the afternoon and NU starter Christian DeLeon
gave Nebraska a solid outing in his first appearance as a Husker. The
junior-college transfer went 4.2 innings, giving up just one run on four hits
and no walks, while posting one strikeout.
inability to cash in on early opportunities proved costly, as NU had its
leadoff runner on in three of the first five innings, but was unable to score.
pitching staff took care of the top of the USC line-up, as the Trojans' first six
hitters went a combined 4-for-23. However, USC's 7-8-9 hitters delivered with a
6-for-9 performance at the plate.
freshman lefty Kyle Twomey, a third-round pick of the Oakland Athletics in
2012, battled the Huskers for 6.1 innings in his collegiate debut. He gave up
three runs, all earned, on six hits and one walk, while striking out four.
Trojans struck first in the game with a run in the bottom of the second off a sacrifice
fly. Jake Hernandez reached on a one-out single and after moving to third on a
double by Vahn Bozoian, USC's designated hitter scored on a deep fly out off
the bat of Kevin Swick.
Bozoian's double in the second, DeLeon found his rhythm and retired eight
straight Trojans. Bozoain snapped the streak in the bottom of the fifth with a
leadoff single. Swick moved Bozoain to second with a sacrifice bunt and DeLeon
got Timmy Robinson to fly out for the second out of the inning. With the top of
the USC lineup in lefty Garrett Stubbs up, Head Coach Darin Erstad went to lefty
reliever Aaron Bummer. The NU sophomore couldn't find the zone and issued a
four-pitch walk to Stubbs, but bounced right back and struck out Landecker to
end the fifth inning.
bats finally broke through against Twomey in the sixth with three runs on four
hits. Pat Kelly laced a base hit to lead off the inning and Rich Sanguinetti
followed with a base-hit bunt. USC caught a break when Chad Christensen popped
out on a sacrifice attempt for the first out of the inning. Unlike the previous
five innings, Twomey was unable to keep the Huskers off the board, as Kash Kalkowski
placed a single through the left side that scored Kelly to tie the game, 1-1.
With Sanguinetti at third and Kalkowski at second, Josh Scheffert gave NU its
first lead of the afternoon, 2-1, with a sacrifice fly to center. Tanner Lubach
stepped to the plate with two outs and dropped a base hit into the outfield to
score Kalkowski from second, increasing NU's lead to two runs, 3-1. Twomey
caught one more break to end the inning, as the lefty picked off Lubach at
cut the Husker lead to one, 3-2, in the bottom of the seventh following a
triple to deep center field off the bat off Robinson that scored Swick. A fine
defensive play by Scheffert at third turned the momentum back in NU's direction,
as he made a diving stop and got Robinson in a pickle down the third-base line,
erasing him 5-2-6. Dylan Vogt, who had come on in the sixth, got Landecker to
groundout to end the seventh.
defense stepped up behind Vogt in the bottom of the eight with USC's 3-4-5
hitters up. Ty Kildow made a sliding catch on a line drive to left field to
start the inning before true freshman Jake Placzek made a nice backhanded play
in the hole and fired across the diamond for the second out. Vogt then retired
James Roberts on a groundout to Scheffert to third.
Huskers were then in position to add insurance runs in the top of the ninth
following base hits from Kalkowski and Scheffert to start the inning. Lubach
moved both into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt, but righty reliever Kyle
Davis fired back-to-back strikeouts to end the Husker threat.
started the ninth with an athletic play for the first out, as Hernandez roped a
liner off of Vogt's shoe, but the NU senior raced off the mound, gathered the
ball and threw to first for the out. Bozoian then struck again with a single
and Swick followed with a double to put the tying and winning runs in scoring
position. The Huskers loaded the bases with and intentional walk, setting the
stage for Garrett Stubbs to lift a sacrifice fly into left to score the tying
run. Landecker stepped to the plate with two down and dropped a single into the
leftfield gap that scored Swick for the game winner.
Huskers head back on the road next weekend then they head to Austin, Texas, for
a three-game series with the Texas Longhorns. The series kicks off with a 7
p.m. game on Friday night at Disch-Falk Field, continues on Saturday at 1 p.m.
and the finale is scheduled for Noon on Sunday. All three games will be carried
on the Longhorn Network, while fans can listen to Lane Grindle and Jeff Culhane
call all the action on the Husker Sports Network.