Austin, Texas – Nebraska’s bullpen came through when it counted, as Jordan Roualdes and Chase Adams combined for two perfect innings to preserve the Huskers’ 5-3 win at No. 2 Texas Saturday afternoon.
With Nebraska leading 5-3 in the eighth, Kevin Lusson opened the eighth with a walk against Husker starter Michael Mariot, who turned in another quality start. Roualdes struck out Russell Moldenhauer before Adams got pinch hitter Tim Maitland to fly out and fanned Tant Shepherd to end the eighth.
In the ninth, Adams sliced through the middle of the order, getting pinch hitter Jordan Weymouth and Kevin Keyes to strike out before Cameron Rupp, the hero of Friday’s game for Texas, flied out to center to end the contest. The save was Adams first of the season, as he fanned three in 1.2 innings.
I’m thrilled,” Nebraska Coach Mike Anderson said. “That was a heart-breaking loss last night and to come back, fight and put yourself in the identical situation the next day and battle through it. We needed this win. We have had tough road games and this team needed a win like today. That was a big one for us.”
The Huskers (9-8, 1-1 Big 12) used the long ball to overcome a pair of early deficits, while Mariot overcame a rocky second inning to battle through seven innings for the win.
“Coach Anderson talked to us about not giving in whoever you are facing and to fight for the guys behind us,” Adams said. “Last night was a tough loss, and to come back and find a way was big for our team. Mariot had a good outing, and I wanted to go out and get the win for him. At 5-3, some guys said it was the same score (as last night), but it stayed that way.”
Rupp opened the second with a double before Jonathan Walsh homered down the right field line to give the Longhorns a 2-0 lead. Texas, which had five of its eight hits in the second inning, eventually loaded the bases with two outs, but Mariot got a break to get out of trouble, as Jordan Etier’s single hit Cohl Walla in the leg for the third out.
The play would be crucial, as the Husker right-hander settled down and allowed just three hits until leaving in the eighth, allowing the Huskers an opportunity to fight back against UT starter Cole Green. Mariot (2-2) allowed three runs on eight hits and fanned five Longhorns (14-5, 1-1) for his second straight win.
Adam Bailey got the Huskers on the scoreboard in the fourth, as his two-run homer to right plated DJ Belfonte, who opened the frame with a single. Bailey, who leads the Big 12 with six homers, went 1-for-3 with two RBIs, his sixth straight game with at least two RBIs.
Texas regained the lead in the fourth, as Lusson opened the frame with a homer to right, but the Huskers tied it up in the fifth on Kale Kiser’s first homer of the year, a solo shot to right.
Green, who was 4-0 with a 2.59 ERA coming into Saturday, allowed three runs on six hits, including two homers, but did not factor into the decision, as Nebraska scratched across a pair of runs in the seventh against reliever Andrew McKirahan.
One-out singles by Belfonte and Kiser started the seventh before McKirahan uncorked a wild pitch to get both runners into scoring position. Adam Bailey was walked to load the bases before Josh Scheffert gave the Huskers the lead for good with a sacrifice fly to right, giving NU a 4-3 lead. Cody Asche, who went 2-for-4, then lined the next pitch into center for an RBI single, giving the Huskers a two-run cushion.
Belfonte went 3-for-4 with two runs scored, while Kiser had two hits and scored twice for Nebraska, which has won six of its last seven contests.
The two teams will wrap up the series tomorrow at 12:05 p.m. Tom Lemke looks for his fourth win and the game will be carried on the Husker Sports Network and televised on Fox College Sports.