Lincoln – The Nebraska baseball team continued its winning ways, sweeping a doubleheader against Northern Colorado on Sunday by scores of 3-2 and 8-5, at Hawks Field.
In the opener, Craig Corriston’s eight-inning RBI single scored Mitch Abeita with the go-ahead run, breaking a 2-all deadlock, while the Huskers raced out to an 8-0 lead after five innings and used a strong relief effort from Zach Herr to seal an 8-5 lead to collect their eighth straight win.
"I like the attack and the mode that our pitchers have been in," Nebraska Head Coach Mike Anderson said. "They’re throwing very well and finding the strike zone. They have had a good rhythm and pace and you can see it in their body language."
Nebraska (9-2) jumped on Northern Colorado starter Dan Kazell for five runs in one-plus inning of work, including a four-run first inning. The Huskers strung together four hits, including an RBI single from Opitz, and stole three bases in the frame, including a steal of home by Cody Neer.
Stewart made it 5-0 game in the second, belting a solo homer to right before taking an 8-0 lead two innings later on run-scoring hits from Belfonte and Opitz.
That was more than enough for Husker starter Thad Weber, who took a shutout into the sixth and matched his career high with six strikeouts over seven innings of work. Weber (2-1) scattered even hits and allowed three earned runs against the Bears for his second straight win.
Northern Colorado scored four in the sixth, including a two-run homer by Sandberg and an RBI double by Chad Murray, and got within 8-5 one inning later on Adam Symons’ RBI double. The Bears got the tying run to the plate in the seventh, but Herr got Erik Whinery to ground out to end the threat.
That would be the Bears’ final opportunity, as Herr struck out the next five hitters before Symons popped out to end the game. The junior left-hander set a career best with six strikeouts over 2.2 innings for his first save, as the Husker bullpen has tossed 22 consecutive scoreless innings dating back to Feb. 24.
In game one, the Huskers made the most of their three hits, stringing together a pair of hits in a two-run third before Corriston’s eighth-inning RBI single made a winner of Mike Nesseth, who pitched two scoreless innings for his first career win.
"We got some opportunities to score runs, and when we did, we made the most of it," Anderson said. That is all you can ask for."
Nebraska broke a scoreless deadlock in the third, putting up two runs against UNC left-hander Jon Klausing. DJ Belfonte began the rally with a one-out walk before Jake Mort’s hit-and-run put runners on the corners. Opitz then drove in Belfonte with a grounder to first before Nimmo sliced an RBI single through the left side to score Mort.
That would be the only hits the Huskers got off Klausing, who pitched exceptionally well in a no-decision. The left-hander struck out five, but walked six over six innings of two-run ball.
Husker starter Dan Jennings was Klausing’s equal, allowing only two hits and striking out three over six innings. Jennings, who has allowed just six hits over 15.2 innings, allowed only one base runner through four innings before Kevin Sandberg’s double gave the Bears (5-7) their first hit of the day. Three batters later, Northern Colorado got on the scoreboard, as Erik Whinery delivered a run-scoring single to make it 2-1.
The Bears would threaten in the seventh, as the first two runners reached on Jennings before loading the bases on a fielder’s choice against Nesseth. The Husker reliever induced a double play by Whinery, but Sandberg crossed the plate to tie the score.
Nebraska would strike in the eighth against reliever and loser Sean Peery. Abeita opened the inning and was at first with two outs. The Husker catcher then stole second and came home one pitch later, as Corriston lined a 3-2 pitch into left for the game winner.
Erik Anderson retired the Bears in order in the ninth for his first career save.
The Huskers and Bears will conclude the series Monday afternoon at 1:35 p.m. The game will be carried on selected Husker Sports Network stations and on Huskers.com. Fans who had tickets to Friday’s originally scheduled game should use their tickets for reserved seating on Monday.