Huskers Walk Off #16 Longhorns, 1-0, in 15 Innings
Lincoln – Deadlocked in a scoreless game in the bottom of the 15th inning, senior Austin Darby delivered a one-out base hit to left field and Texas’ Ben Johnson booted the ball, allowing Tanner Lubach to score from second base for the game-winning run. The 1-0 victory clinched the series for the Huskers, who are now 20-7 on the year.
After Jeff Chesnut, who improved to 4-0 on the year in the win, retired UT’s 4-5-6 hitters in order in the top of the 15th, Texas reliever Travis Duke hit Lubach in the back to start the bottom of the frame. Freshman Jake Meyers moved Lubach into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt, setting the stage for Darby. The senior right-fielder, who was 1-for-6 heading into the at-bat, got behind 0-2 in the count, but then lined an offering from Duke into left field where Johnson committed his third error of the season and Lubach easily scored the game winner in front of 5,852 fans at Hawks Field.
Starter Kyle Kubat, along with relievers Jake Hohensee, Colton Howell and Jeff Chesnut limited the Longhorns to four hits and three walks on the day, while piling up 19 strikeouts. It was the most strikeouts by a Husker staff since 2009 when NU notched 22 punch outs in a 15 inning game against Louisiana-Lafayette.
After the Longhorns produced three hits through the first three innings, they then didn’t record another hit until Johnson led off the 14th with a single. Texas totaled just seven base runners and had a runner in scoring position only twice all game.
Kubat went 8.0 innings in the start and for the second-straight game he struck out a career-high nine batters. Following a two-out single by Brooks Marlow in the fourth, Kubat retired the final 13 Longhorns he faced. It was the senior’s third career outing of at least 8.0 innings and trailed only his 8.2-inning effort against Michigan at last season’s Big Ten Tournament.
Hohensee tossed a pair of no-hit innings after Kubat, striking out three Longhorns and walking one. Howell then took over in the 11th and retired the first eight batters he faced, including a career-high tying five strikeouts, before giving up back-to-back walks with two outs in the 13th. Chesnut came in and struck out Taylor Stell to end UT’s threat. After giving up a leadoff single to Johnson in the 14th, Chesnut sat down the final five UT batters he faced.
With NU’s bullpen keeping UT’s offense off the bases, NU’s offense had multiple chances to score. The Huskers had the winning run in scoring position in 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th inning, before finally breaking through in the 15th. The Huskers loaded the bases in both the 11th and 13th innings, but each time the Longhorns’ bullpen was able to get out of the jam.
Saturday’s contest was the longest game at Hawks Field since 2013 when the Huskers beat Northwestern in 16 innings. It was also not the longest game in Nebraska-Texas history either, as NU won a 16-inning marathon in 2005.
The Huskers and Longhorns wrap up their series tomorrow at Hawks Field, with first pitched scheduled for 12:05 p.m. Greg Sharpe and Lane Grindle will have the call on the Husker Sports Network and the game will be streamed live on BTN Plus.