Huskers Upset No. 5 UCLA in Extra Innings, Claim Series Win
Peters, who provided the game-winning single in the 12th inning of Saturday's 2-1 thriller, took the first pitch off Mitchell Beacom onto the outfield berm, setting off another celebration that marks Nebraska's first back-to-back walk-off wins since 2003.
"It's crazy," Peters said. "It was a long weekend but the team did a great job and we found a way to win the last two days. I'm not going to lie, it was pretty cool, but it wasn't just me. The pitching staff definitely did great and we had some great plays. It was a whole team effort."
A sophomore second baseman from Fort Collins, Colo., Peters' homer was the first of his career. His walk-off shot also gave NU a series win over a top-five ranked opponent for the first time since upsetting No. 5 Texas in 2006.
"The effort was outstanding this weekend," head coach Mike Anderson said. "You can't say enough about the kids. They never gave up. They were very, very determined. Yesterday in the game, in about the sixth inning when we were behind, I saw that determination. Win or lose yesterday, it was there. They were very determined to get back in it. They did it and today that determination was back."
Nebraska trailed 4-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning after first baseman Kurt Farmer retired UCLA's Pat Valaika by tumbling into the first row of seats to end the top half of the frame. The Huskers' rode that momentum to mount a three-run, three-hit comeback with one UCLA error to force extra innings for the third straight day, marking the first time in school history NU has played three consecutive extra inning contests.
Cody Asche and Josh Scheffert came up with clutch RBI singles to highlight the ninth inning after Michael Pritchard tabbed a one-out infield single to start the rally, while Bryan Peters also reached on a throwing error by Valaika at shortstop. Scheffert's single on a 3-1 pitch scored Asche for the game-tying run.
Casey Hauptman (2-1) earned the win for Nebraska as he threw the final two innings and gave up no runs and only one hit, while Tyler King and Ryan Hander combined to shut out UCLA from the fifth to ninth innings. NU starter Brandon Pierce allowed three runs in the first inning but settled down to hold UCLA scoreless in the second and third. The Husker pitching staff combined to produce its best weekend of the season with a 1.32 ERA and a .164 batting average against the fifth-ranked Bruins, last year's NCAA runner-up.
The Nebraska offense was also strong in the series finale despite putting up only one run through the first eight innings. That run came in the seventh on an Asche RBI single, as both him and Peters finished with 2-for-5 days at the plate. The Huskers totaled 13 hits on the day, while UCLA had 11. Bruin starter Adam Plutko went six innings while giving up no runs on six hits. He threw 116 pitches to mark the third straight day UCLA's starter went over the century pitch count.
Nebraska will have a quick turnaround as it hosts Doane College this Tuesday at 1:35 p.m. The Huskers will then welcome No. 24 Fresno State to Hawks Field over the weekend as the series kicks off Friday at 1:35 p.m. Tickets for all games at Hawks Field can be purchased online at Huskers.com, by calling 1-800-8-BIG-RED or by visiting the NU Athletic Ticket Office on the west side of Memorial Stadium.