Corpus Christi, Texas - It was a day of
firsts for the Nebraska baseball team (1-3, 0-0 Big Ten) on Friday, as sophomore
Zach Hirsch picked up his first win and Head Coach Darin Erstad earned his
first win as the Huskers' head coach in a 5-2 win over the Utah Utes. Hirsch
and the rest of the pitching staff allowed more than one hit in an inning just
once in the ball game, while the Husker offense pounded out five runs on 12
a native of St. Charles, Ill., gave the Huskers six strong innings in his
second start of the season. The 6-4 lefty doubled his previous career high of
three strikeouts with six on the afternoon and gave up just one earned run.
Junior right-hander Travis Huber shut the door for the Huskers in the ninth
with a 1-2-3 inning to earn his first save as a Husker, after Dylan Vogt
pitched 1.2 innings of shutout baseball.
Richard Stock powered the Husker offense with a 3-for-4 performance, including
a double, and one RBI. Rich Sanguinetti, Austin Darby and Cory Burleson each
had two hits in the game, with Burleson also producing an RBI. The Huskers were
aggressive on the base paths with four stolen bases, including two from Darby.
Last season, the Huskers stole four or bases just twice with a five against
both Nebraska-Kearny and Oklahoma State.
catching a couple of bad breaks on the bases paths in the first three innings,
the Huskers broke through in the bottom of the fourth with four runs on four
hits. Sanguinetti and Darby started the inning with back-to-back singles,
including a hit-and-run from Darby that moved Sanguinetti to third. Chad Christensen
was up next and drew a walk to load the bases with no outs. Stock followed with
a two-RBI single for his second hit of the game after leading off the second
with a double off the right field wall. Burleson kept the Huskers rolling with
another single to drive in Christensen and gave NU runners at first and third
with no out. Following a walk to Scheffert to again load the bases, the Utes
got their first out of the inning on a force out of Stock at home. Nebraska scored
another run during Bryan Peters' at bat off a wild pitch from Josh Chapman,
before the Utes' right hander retied Peters and Ty Kildow to end the inning.
Utes finally got to Hirsch in the top of the sixth to put a run on the board.
Parker Morin started everything with a one-out single and Trey Nielsen followed
with a walk before Jo Jo Sharrar knocked in Morin with a single to right field.
Hirsch quickly put an end to the Utes' rally, as he got Ethan Leiter to ground
into an inning-end 4-6-3 double play.
got the run back in the bottom of the sixth by getting active on the bases. With
runners at first and second following a double from Scheffert and an infield
single from Blake Headley, Erstad dialed up a double steal and the Utes' third
baseman was unable to field the throw, allowing Scheffert to score easily and
put the Huskers up 5-1.
Jeff Stovall took the mound in the top of the seventh for his first appearance as
a Husker and started out well with a fly out. Utah then put the pressure on with
a single and two walks to load the bases with one out. Erstad went to Vogt and
the veteran from Omaha came to the rescue by getting the next two Utah batters
out, but the Utes scored one run on Shaun Cooper's diving catch by Kildow on
the left field warning track for the second out.
blowing a pair of saves last Saturday and Sunday, Erstad brought in Huber to
take a shot at the closer role. The College of Southern Idaho transfer needed just 13
pitches to secure the win.
Huskers will play their first double header of the 2012 season tomorrow when
they meet the Utes for another game at 3 p.m., before facing Texas
A&M-Corpus Christi at 7 p.m. NU is set to send sophomore Jon Keller to the
mound in game one and junior Tom Lemke will start his first game of the season
in the nightcap. Fans can listen to both games on the Husker Sports Network,
Huskers.com or the Official Husker App.