Fresno, Calif. – Freshmen Tom Lemke and Kurt Giller held a potent Fresno State in check, as Nebraska won the final game of the four-game series by a score of 4-1 Monday night at Beiden Field.
Lemke (1-0) tossed five shutout innings for his first career win, as the right-hander scattered five hits and struck out six in his Husker debut. Giller closed the door on NU’s first win of the season, going the final four innings for his first save, as he allowed one run on four hits.
Giller set down nine in a row heading to the ninth, as the Huskers took a shutout into the frame and were forced to hold off the late charging Bulldogs.
Fresno State opened the frame with three straight hits, pulling to within 4-1 on Trent Garrison’s RBI single and getting the tying run to the plate. Giller then found his groove again, fanned Kenny Wise for the first out before Bobby Coyle whistled a shot down the first base line which was snared by a leaping Tyler Farst, who went to first to double-up pinch-runner Andy Qualls for the game ending double play.
“Going 0-3 into tonight and having two freshmen on the hill, you are hoping to survive with the offense they have, but both really filled up the zone tonight and showed what competitors they are,” Nebraska Coach Mike Anderson said. “It was nice to see out there. There is going to be a point where we split those two up and let them start on the weekend, but to see them compete was very encouraging.”
The matchup between Lemke and Fresno State starter Cody Kendall was a pitchers’ duel early on, as the game was scoreless through four innings. Lemke worked around jams, as the Bulldogs got multiple runners on each of his last three innings, but pitched his way out of trouble long enough to have the Huskers’ stake him a lead.
Consecutive hits from Adam Bailey and Patric Tolentino to open the fifth got the Huskers going with their first substantial rally of the night. Josh Scheffert’s sacrifice moved both runners over before Bryan Peters collected his first RBI, reaching on a fielding error from second baseman Danny Muno, as Bailey scored from third.
Scheffert, who has five RBIs in two games, came up big one inning later, delivering a two-out RBI single to stake the Huskers to a three-run lead. A leadoff single by Asche and a one-out double by Adam Bailey, who went 2-for-4 and scored twice, put runners on second and third with one out. Two batters later, Scheffert blooped a single to left center, clearing the bases and giving NU a 3-0 lead.
“We did some good things offensively, as we found ways to extend the lead in situations,” Anderson said. “We didn’t hold it yesterday but tonight we did. Scheffert really came through with a big two-out hit in the fifth.”
Kendall (0-1) pitched well in a losing effort, allowing three runs on eight hits over six innings of work
The Huskers added an insurance run in the top of the ninth, as Peters reached on a fielder’s choice and eventually came around to score on DJ Belfotne’s RBI single to right. Belfonte went 2-for-4 and had four multi-hit games in the series.
The Huskers will travel to Houston, Texas, for the rice Invitational this weekend. NU opens action against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 1 p.m. on Friday.