Charleston, S.C. – A big first inning from The Citadel offense for the second straight game carried the Bulldogs to a 12-8 win, resulting in a consecutive losses by the Nebraska baseball team (4-5, 0-0 Big Ten). The loss dropped the Huskers below .500 for the first time in 2014.
The Husker put together 10 hits on the day, including a career-high three from Jake Placzek, but NU was unable to overcome three errors from its defense that resulted in four unearned runs and seven walks from its pitching staff.
The Citadel jumped out to a 4-0 lead with four runs in the first inning, highlighted by a two-RBI triple from Drew DeKerlegand. The Bulldogs added two more runs in the second on three hits, extending their lead to 6-0 though just two innings.
Citadel starter James Reeves came out and retired the first six Huskers he faced before Bryce Only led off the top of the third with a single. Reeves also gave up a single to Austin Darby in the third, but kept the game scoreless through three. Reeves then sent Huskers down in order in the fourth and fifth innings.
The Citadel blew the game wide open in the bottom of the fifth with four runs on just one hit, as the Huskers issued three walks and committed two errors, pushing The Citadel’s lead to 10-0.
The Huskers didn’t go away quietly though, as they got on the board in the top of the sixth with four runs on three, including a two-out homer from Tanner Lubach. Placzek got the inning starter with a single, then Darby walked and Ty Kildow laid down a bunt single that loaded the bases with no out. Michael Pritchard came through with a RBI groundout to get Nebraska on the board and Pat Kelly followed with a sacrifice fly. With Kildow still on second, Lubach blasted an offering from Reeves well over the 376-foot sign in left-center field for his first home run of the season and the third of his career. Reliever Ross White came in and promptly struck out Blake Headley to end the frame, but not before the Huskers cut The Citadel’s lead to six at 10-4.
The six-run deficit grew to eight in the bottom of the sixth following Tyler Griffin’s second homer of the series. After hitting a three-run shot in Friday’s opener, the right fielder notched a two-run shot down the left-field line off freshman reliever Ben Miller that pushed The Citadel’s lead to 12-4.
After reliever Colton Howell posted three strikeouts in the bottom of the seventh, the Husker offense sent nine to the plate in the top of the eighth and scored four runs. Pritchard led off the inning with a single, which extended his on-base streak to 51 straight games. Only plated the first run when he was hit-by-pitch, while Placzek drove in a pair with a two-out single. Darby followed with an RBI single before pinch hitter Ryan Boldt struck out looking to end the inning.
Howell punched out two more Bulldogs in the bottom of the eighth, setting a career best with five strikeouts. NU’s offense was unable to produce its third four-run inning of the game though in the ninth to tie the game, as a walk by Kelly was all the Huskers could muster.
Nebraska returns to Joseph P Riley, Jr. Park tomorrow at 11 a.m. (CT) looking to avoid a series sweep. Fans across Nebraska and around the world can listen Lane Grindle and Ben McLaughlin call all of the action on the Husker Sports Network, including Huskers.com and the Official Husker App. Due to men’s basketball, Saturday’s game will be carried on 105.3 FM in Lincoln.