Lincoln –Oklahoma’s Zach Neal cooled off Nebraska’s bats, allowing one run over seven innings, as the No. 12 Sooners pulled away late for a 10-2 victory Friday night at Hawks Field.
Neal (3-0) allowed a run in the first on Kale Kiser’s RBI double before finding his groove, allowing only one hit after the first and striking out 11 Huskers, as Oklahoma (19-2, 2-0) snapped Nebraska’s 10-game home win streak dating back to last season.
“He did a good job of changing speeds and locating the rest of the night (after the first inning),” Nebraska Coach Mike Anderson said. “He kept us off balance and you tip your hat.”
The Huskers stuck early, as Belfonte led off the first with a single and scored on Kiser’s opposite field double to left, but that would be the only run the Huskers (11-10, 1-3 Big 12) would muster against the Sooner right-hander. Neal allowed only two base runners after the first, as Husker second baseman Bryan Peters was hit by a pitch in the second and singled in the fifth.
Oklahoma used the long ball to get back in the game against Husker starter Casey Hauptman, getting a pair of solo homers from Caleb Bushyhead in the fourth and Max White one inning later to take the lead at 2-1.
The pitchers’ duel between Neal and Hauptman took a turn in the sixth, as Oklahoma pushed across three runs on four hits, getting an RBI single from Bushyhead and a two-out, two-run double off the bat of White.
“I thought that double was the key point of the game,” Anderson said. “We had the matchup we wanted with Casey on the mound, but could not get the pitch to get out of that inning, and it goes from 3-1 to 5-1. I thought we let down a little after that.”
Bushyhead and White did most of damage against the Huskers, combining for five hits and six RBIs. Bushyhead was 2-for-5 with three runs scored and three RBIs, while White added had three hits and a trio of runs batted in. Garrett Buechele also homered and drove in three runs in the victory.
Hauptman (1-3) took the loss, allowing six runs on seven hits over six-plus innings, as the right-hander fanned four and walked one.
OU put the game out of reach in the seventh, scoring five times, as it took advantage of two Husker errors and got a three-run homer off the bat of Buechele.
Peters went 2-for-3 for his third straight multi-hit game for the Huskers, while Belfonte had two hits and an RBI, as the Huskers were out-hit 11-6.
The Huskers will look to bounce back Saturday afternoon at 2:05 p.m. Right-hander Michael Mariot (2-2, 4.50 ERA) looks for his third consecutive win and the game will be carried on the Husker Sports Network and on Huskers.com.
Photo Courtesy Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications