Charleston, S.C. – The Citadel’s offense jumped on Nebraska starter Christian DeLeon in the bottom of the first, notching four straight hits, including a three-run homer from Tyler Griffin, on its way to a 6-3 win over the Huskers on Friday evening. Nebraska (4-4, 0-0 Big Ten) rallied to cut The Citadel’s lead to one run in the top of the seventh, but the Bulldogs added a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the eight and held onto win the series opener.
On the day, DeLeon gave up five runs on eight hits, but four of the five runs came on four hits from The Citadel’s first four batters in the bottom of the first inning. Following rocky start, DeLeon gave up one run on four hits over his next 6.0 innings of work and tied a career high with seven strikeouts.
The Husker offense had a tough time figuring out crafty lefty Logan Cribb, who did give up three runs, but on just five hits. The starter lasted 6.2 innings for the Bulldogs and struck out eight, a season-high for the Huskers. A pair of Citadel relievers pitched the final 2.1 innings, allowing no hits and one walk.
Nebraska’s offense got its starting pitcher some support in the top of the second when it cut the Bulldogs’ lead in half with a pair of runs. Tanner Lubach got the inning started with a double down the left-field line and quickly scored on a double off the right-field wall by Austin Christensen, who then scored on a single by Ryan Boldt. The Huskers were unable to keep the inning going though, as Bryce Only struck out, Boldt was caught stealing third after stealing second and Jake Placzek flew out to center.
After the teams combined for six runs on eight hits through the first two innings, neither team scored a run or even put a runner on third base until The Citadel had Calvin Orth 90 feet from home with two out in the bottom of the sixth.
The scoring drought ended in the top of the seventh when Austin Darby cut The Citadel’s lead to one, 4-3, with a two-out double to right center. After getting hit-by-pitch, Only was able to take off on the Darby’s hit with two outs and scored all the way from first. Plazcek then worked a walk to get Michael Pritchard to the plate, but reliever Zach Sherrill struck out the Huskers’ No. 3 hitter with the tying run at second base.
The Bulldogs loaded the bases with one out in the eighth and was able to plate a pair of runs on a walk and a sacrifice fly. Closer Skylar Hunter then worked a 1-2-3 ninth off the bottom of NU’s order to pick up his third save of the year.
The Huskers will return to Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park tomorrow for a 1 p.m. (CT) game, looking to even the series. Junior lefty Aaron Bummer is set to start for the Huskers, while the Bulldogs will send counter with lefty James Reeves. 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.