Lincoln – Nick Sullivan went 2-for-2 with a career-high three RBIs, lifting the Nebraska baseball team to an 11-2 victory over Nebraska-Kearney Tuesday afternoon at Hawks Field
Sullivan paced a balanced Husker attack that put runs up in six different innings, as Nebraska improved to 6-2 on the season with its fifth straight win.
The junior outfielder from Arvada, Colo., snapped an 0-for-10 slump with a bunt single in the second before his run-scoring single one inning later gave the Huskers its first lead of the day at 3-2. He later added sacrifice flies in the fifth and seventh innings, as the Huskers pulled away late against the Lopers.
Mitch Abeita, Bryce Nimmo and DJ Belfonte had two hits apiece while seven different Huskers drive in at least one run. Nimmo went 2-for-3 with a pair of walks and matched his personal best with four runs scored while Abeita scored three times against the Lopers, who dropped to 6-8 on the year.
According to Nebraska coach Mike Anderson, the Lopers jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning provided a wake-up call for the Huskers.
“That was best thing that could have happened to us because it made us concentrate a little bit more,” Anderson said. “I didn’t think we had a good day of preparation or pregame or anything else, so I’m glad that we got the result today. Any time we can get a win, it’s good.”
Freshman Casey Hauptmann allowed a pair of RBI doubles to Nate Swearer and Joe Nowaczyk in the top of the first before settling down, retiring seven of next eight hitters he faced in his three innings of work.
“He was probably a little timid at first with his first start,” Anderson said. “In the second and third innings, he got after it. He pitched a lot better. That’s what we expect out of him.”
From there, the Husker bullpen took over with six shutout innings of five-hit relief, as Joe Hatasaki collected his first career win.
Trailing 2-0, the Huskers chipped away at the lead, getting an Abeita RBI single in the first before tying the score on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Ben Kline. One inning later, Sullivan gave the Huskers their first lead of the afternoon, driving a single to right to score Abeita, who was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a Craig Corriston single.
Nebraska used one hit and a costly UNK error to extend its lead to 5-2 in the fifth, as a hit batter, a Nimmo single and an error put runners at second and third with no outs. Corriston drove in one run with a ground out before Sullivan’s first sacrifice fly of the day plated Nimmo.
Ryan Wrobel (0-1) took the loss, allowing five runs – two earned – over five innings of work.
The Huskers put the game out of reach late, scoring two in the seventh and four more in the eighth. In the seventh, an RBI single by Nimmo and a Sullivan sacrifice fly made it 7-2.
One inning later, a pair of Husker freshman got in the act, getting a two-run pinch-hit single by Tyler Rank before David Stewart’s pinch-hit single closed out the scoring.
Nebraska returns to action this weekend, as the Huskers begin a four-game series with Northern Colorado. Friday’s first pitch is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. and the game will be carried on selected Husker Sports Network affiliates and on Huskers.com.
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