Lincoln - Despite a season-high three hits from Cory Burleson, the Nebraska baseball team dropped a 10-5 decision to Texas A&M Saturday afternoon.
Burleson posted his first three-hit day of the season, going 3-for-4 with an RBI, but Texas A&M (25-16-1, 9-10-1 Big 12) overcame an early 1-0 deficit with five runs in the fourth and answered every time the Huskers tried to slice into the lead in the later innings.
Matt Juengel went 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs for the visitors, while Joe Patterson and Kevin Gonzalez belted back-to-back homers in the fourth off of Nebraska starter Tyler Niederklein to give the Aggies the lead for good.
Nebraska (19-24, 6-14 Big 12) took a quick 1-0 lead on DJ Belfonte's sixth homer of the year, a leadoff shot to left off of Texas A&M starter Ross Stripling, marking the Huskers' first leadoff homer since 2003.
After a leadoff single by Adam Smith opened the fourth, Patterson gave TAMU its first lead of the day with a two-run homer to center before Gonzalez made it a 3-0 game with a solo homer to left. After a double and a bunt single ended Niederklein's day, freshman Luke Bublitz got Scott Arthur to bounce into a double play, including Stilson at the plate, and nearly got the Huskers out of the frame. Unfortunately, a single by Tyler Naquin and a single by Jungel loaded the bases before Bublitz walked Greene for the fourth run. Khris Tate tried to stem the tide, but issued a walk to Adam Smith to cap the Texas A&M's five-run frame.
Niederklein (3-1) suffered his first loss of the year, allowing four runs on seven hits over 3.0 innings of work
Stipling (4-3) had kept the Huskers' off the board until the fifth when Burleson's one-out double started a rally. DJ Belfonte then struck out, but the pitch got away from Gonzalez and his throw to get Belfonte caromed into right field, allowing Burleson to score from second. NU eventually loaded the bases after walks to Adam Bailey and Tyler Farst, but the Aggie starter, who allowed two runs on four hits over 5.1 innings, struck out Cody Asche to end the threat.
Juengel helped Texas A&M extend the margin to 8-2 with a solo homer in the sixth before adding a two-out RBI single one inning later, as the Aggies took advantage of a Husker error to plate two runs.
The Huskers fought back against the Aggie bullpen in the eighth, scoring three times to pull to within 8-5. A leadoff double by Farst and consecutive walks to Cody Asche and Chad Christensen by reliever Michael Wacha loaded the bases. Wacha balked in a run before Asche scored on a wild pitch by Stilson. Burleson then made it a three-run game with an RBI single to center.
Texas A&M got some breathing room in the ninth with a pair of runs, getting an RBI double from Naquin and a squeeze bunt by Juengel before the Huskers made one last run. A one-out single by Bailey and an Aggie error put runners on first and second before Cody Asche's single loaded the bases. Stilson then settled down, getting Christensen to pop out before Byran Peters grounded into a game-ending fielder's choice.
The Huskers will look to salvage the series finale, which is scheduled for 11:05 a.m. The game will be on the Husker Sports Network and on Huskers.com.