Huskers Defeat Creighton, 8-5
Lincoln, Neb. - Tyler Niederklein carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning and Cody Asche hit his seventh home run of the season as Nebraska (20-11) took a 5-0 lead on its way to an 8-5 victory over Creighton (20-6) at Hawks Field on Tuesday night.
Niederklein improved to 4-1 with the win, as he did not allow a hit until there was one down in the sixth inning. His 5.1 innings without giving up a hit was the longest a Husker pitcher had taken a no-hitter since Johnny Dorn threw 7.2 innings of no-hit ball in a 10-2 victory over Creighton on March 29, 2005.
Bryan Peters went 2-for-3 with three RBIs, including a key 2-RBI single in the sixth inning to put Nebraska ahead 7-3 after Creighton had cut a five-run deficit to 5-3. It was the second straight two-run inning for the Huskers after Asche hit a 2-run homer to right field in the bottom of the fifth.
"We were thrilled to put up eight runs," head coach Mike Anderson said. "We did a good job on that. It got a little tight there at the end but that's part of baseball. That was our guy (Brandon Pierce) and that was who we were going to finish with. It might have looked ugly had we not gotten it done, but that's the guy we were going to finish with. I'm proud of Brandon for getting it done, and when it got really tight there I thought he produced. Tyler Neiderklein was outstanding. I thought he pitched extremely well."
Pierce picked up his second save of the season as he entered the game with a 7-4 lead and two outs in the top of the eighth inning. He walked the bases loaded with no outs in the ninth but gave up only a sacrifice fly before retiring the final two batters.
Niederklein, a sophomore from Omaha, Neb., threw a season-high 98 pitches and allowed three runs on three hits. All the run production came on one pitch as he gave up a three-run homer to Trever Adams in the top of the sixth and then allowed a triple before he was relieved by Nick Dolsky. The sophomore walked a pair and struck out Chance Ross before he was taken out for Tom Lemke, who faced a 2-out, bases loaded situation and struck out Joey Bowens to end the threat.
Lemke, Pierce and freshman Tyler King combined to give up only one hit and two runs over the final three innings as Nebraska improved to 15-0 on the season when leading after six.
The Husker offense struck early by taking a 2-0 lead in the first on a Kash Kalkowski RBI double to left and a sacrifice fly from Kurt Farmer. Kalkowski, who finished 2-for-4, reached base safely for the 12th straight game. He added a bloop RBI single into short center in the third to bring home Asche following a leadoff single and give the Huskers a 3-0 advantage.
Nebraska successfully put the leadoff man on base in four of its eight at-bats on the night. Dating back to last game, the Huskers have had the leadoff man reach safely in 11 of the past 16 innings.
The Huskers scored four of their runs in the fifth and sixth innings, as Peters started the fifth with a walk before Asche sent an 0-1 pitch into the right field terrace for his seventh home run of the season. A junior from O'Fallon, Mo., Asche has hit all seven home runs in the past 16 games while producing 23 RBIs during that stretch. His 2-for-3 night also gives him a team-leading 16 multiple-hit games this year.
Peters guided NU to another 2-run inning in the sixth when he came to the plate with Kale Kiser and Khiry Cooper on second and third. With the infield drawn in, Peters bounced a single over CU second baseman Alex Staehely to score two and put the Huskers on top 7-3. After the Bluejays scored one in the eighth, the Huskers successfully executed a squeeze in the bottom half as Cooper raced down the line to score as Peters sac bunted down the first base line.
Nebraska will now embark on a four-game road trip beginning this Friday with a three-game series at Kansas. The Huskers will then travel to Wichita State for a Tuesday night non-conference game.