No. 8 Huskers Sweep Baylor
Waco, Texas – Jake Opitz homered and drove in five runs, powering eighth-ranked Nebraska to a 14-1 victory over Baylor to complete a doubleheader sweep at the Baylor Ballpark Saturday night.
The Huskers (32-7-1, 15-4-1 Big 12) took control early, scoring seven runs in the first inning en route to its first-ever Big 12 road twinbill sweep and first sweep on the road against a conference foe since 1994.
“I guess if we are going to break out of it, this is the way to do it,” Nebraska Head Coach Mike Anderson following the Huskers’ first wins in Waco since 2002. “In the first game, a few things went our way and we got some breaks. In the second game, we got off to a great start and that was the key to the whole thing.
With the two wins, the Huskers stay 1.5 games behind Texas, A&M, a 15-0 winner against Missouri earlier Saturday. The Huskers won game one, 6-4, on a two-run 10th inning single from DJ Belfonte, who had four hits and drove in six runs on Saturday.”
“Our M.O. for this team has been consistent pitching, solid defense and consistent clutch hitting,” Anderson said. “The only constant is that it has been someone different every game. We don’t score a bunch of runs all the time, but we’ve gotten big hits. Today was DJ’s day with some big hits.”
Opitz went 3-for-5 with a season-high four RBIs in the nightcap, while Belfonte continued his hot hitting by driving in three runs for the third straight game. The Huskers rapped out 16 hits and handed the Bears (24-20, 8-12 Big 12) the worst home loss since 1997, as the game was shortened to seven innings because of the 10-run rule.
Thad Weber (8-2) tossed his second complete game of the season, allowing one unearned run over seven innings, as he scattered four hits and fanned four.
“I thought we had two good starting performances on the mound, and when you do that, you give yourself a chance to win,” Anderson said, as Weber and Dorn combined to hold Baylor to three runs over 14 innings.
The Huskers stuck early and often against Baylor starter Shawn Tolleson, scoring seven times and chasing the right-hander after 0.2 innings. Tolleson struggled with his control, as he walked Bryce Nimmo and hit Jake Mort before Opitz cleared the bases with a two-run double. Another walk and a hit batter loaded the bases before Bryce Nimmo legged out an infield single to make it 3-0 before Cody Neer made it a 5-0 cushion with a two-run single. Ben Kline then squeezed home Nebraska’s sixth run before Nimmo’s RBI double pushed the lead to 7-0, as the Husker sent 12 men to the plate in the inning.
Tolleson (4-3) took the loss, allowing seven runs on four hits as he didn’t get out of the first.
The Huskers, who scored in five of seven innings, added a run in the fourth on a Belfonte sacrifice fly before making it 10-0 in the fifth on Opitz’s fourth homer of the year, a two-run shot to right.
Baylor cracked the scoreboard in the fifth, as Brooks Kimmey drove in Jon Ringenberg for the Bears’ lone run. That would be as close as the Bears got, as Nebraska added a run in the sixth on Kline’s RBI single and tacked on three more in the seventh, including a two-run double from pinch hitter Tyler Rank.
The series will continue Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. (central) with Aaron Pribanic looking for his fourth win of the season. The game will be carried on the Husker Sports Network and on Huskers.com