Minneapolis, Minn. - The Husker baseball team (4-4, 0-0 Big Ten) was unable to overcome a three-run sixth inning by the West Virginia Mountaineers on Friday afternoon at the Metrodome, as the Huskers dropped their opening game of the Dairy Queen Classic by a score of 4-1. The Huskers totaled six hits on the day and worked seven walks off the WVU pitching staff, but were doomed by the 10 runners they left on base.
Starter Zach Hirsch was nearly untouchable though the first five innings, but was unable to keep the momentum into the sixth. On the day, Hirsch have the Huskers seven innings and walk none, while striking out six.
West Virginia's Brady Wilson was the player of the game, as he was the only player on either team with multiple hits in the game, with three, and he drove in all four of WVU's runs.
The Huskers' took the first lead of the game with one run in the top of the first. Kale Kiser drew a leadoff walk and then moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Rich Sanguinetti. Following a fly out from Michael Prichard, Richard Stock drove in Kiser with a two-out double into the left field corner. It was Stock's fourth RBI of the season and his fourth two bagger in the last five games.
Nebraska would have at least one runner in scoring position in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings, including a two-out triple by Bryan Peters in the fourth, but were unable to scratch across another run. During the four-inning stretch, NU produced four hits, but missed out when it needed a hit most, as the Huskers left six runners stranded.
After Hirsch gave up just one hit and had retired 14 straight hitters through the first five innings, the Mountaineers' bats woke up in the bottom of the sixth with three runs on five hits. Two of WVU's first three batters reached on singles, before Wilson delivered a three-run homer into the leftfield seats to give WVU a 3-1 lead. West Virginia continued the rally with a pair of singles, but Hirsch got clean-up hitter Gabe Brown to ground into a 1-6-3 double play to put an end to the damage.
NU twice looked to have something going in the top of the eighth, but failed to plate a run. Pritchard led off with a walk, but was soon cleared following a 1-3-1 double by off the bat of Stock. Chad Christensen and Cory Burleson then drew back-to-back two-out walks, prompting Head Coach Darin Erstad to insert Kash Kalkowski for Kurt Farmer, but Kalkowski grounded out to the short stop to end the inning for NU.
The Mountaineers added one more insurance run in the eighth off a double by Wilson.
The Huskers return to the Metrodome tomorrow for a 12:05 game with New Mexico State. It will be the seventh all-time meeting between the two programs and the series is tied at 3-3. Fans can listen to Greg Sharpe and Jeff Culhane call all the action on the Husker Sports Network, while a live stream of the game is available at gophersports.com or BTN.com. A subscription is needed to watch the video stream.