Lincoln, Neb. - No. 29 Nebraska (8-5) took a 3-2 lead early but surrendered a four-run fourth inning and could not recover as No. 20 Fresno State (10-1) claimed an 8-5 series-opening win at Hawks Field on Friday afternoon.
In front of a season-high crowd of 3,707, the Huskers produced 13 hits off five Fresno State pitchers, but stranded 16 runners on base and went scoreless through the final four innings.
"Today it was an issue," head coach Mike Anderson said. "I wouldn't say it's been an issue from any other point. We're scoring quite a few runs and doing a good job. You have to look at who you're facing too. I thought we had opportunities we just didn't make the most of it. Those things happen in a game, but I haven't been alarmed by it except for today. We'll have a better day with the ball."
Khiry Cooper had a career-high four-hit day with one RBI and run scored that gave NU a 3-2 lead after two innings. Cooper nearly cashed in a 5-for-5 day but his long fly ball to right field in the ninth inning was caught just in front of the warning track. Trailing 8-5, Nebraska nearly mounted its third straight rally as Kale Kiser and Bryan Peters reached safely before the Bulldogs brought in closer Charlie Robertson, who got Cody Asche to ground out to first base on the first pitch.
Taylor Garrison (2-0) was credited with the win for Fresno State, as he threw 1 2/3 innings early on and held NU off the board in the third before the Bulldogs took a 6-3 lead after 3 ½ innings. Jon Keller (1-1) suffered his first career loss, as the freshman went 3 2/3, giving up six runs on eight hits. It was the first runs Keller has given up all season.
Dylan Vogt relieved Keller with two outs and runners on first and second in the fourth inning. The Omaha, Neb., native nearly got the Huskers out of the inning but Brennan Gowens' hit to center field was just past the diving attempt of Cooper and brought home the third and fourth runs of the frame. Nebraska cut the lead to 6-4 in the fifth as Cory Burleson led off the inning by reached on an error and eventually scoring, but the Huskers could not get any closer.
Kurt Farmer, who had a nine-game hit streak snapped last weekend, found his groove at the plate once again as he finished 3-for-5. In the seventh, Farmer nearly led off the inning with his fourth hit of the day but his blooper to short right field was caught by a diving Pat Hutcheson from second base.
Cody Asche (2-for-6) and Josh Scheffert (2-for-3) also had multiple-hit games, including back-to-back singles in the first inning that gave NU a 1-0 lead. Asche has a team-best seven multiple-hit games this season.
Nebraska continues its series with Fresno State on Saturday afternoon at Hawks Field. First pitch is set for 2:05 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at Huskers.com or by visiting the Hawks Field box office before the game.