Huskers Fall Short in Pitching Battle, 4-1
The Huskers were held to three hits, two of which came in the sixth inning when NU cut a two-run deficit in half (2-1) on Kash Kalkowski's RBI double down the left field line. That was all the offense could produce, however, as Oklahoma starter Burch Smith (7-2) went 7.1 innings before Dillon Overton and Ryan Duke silenced the Husker bats over the final two innings.
Nebraska starter Jon Keller (2-4) was strong on the rubber for the Big Red, going 5.0 innings and holding the Sooners to two runs on 10 hits. Keller got out of jams in the third and fifth when Oklahoma stranded five of 12 runners on the day. It marked the second straight week the freshman went at least five innings and gave up only two runs. Fellow freshman Logan Ehlers relieved Keller in the sixth and was clean through two innings before allowing two runs in the eighth.
"They did a very good job but unfortunately Oklahoma got a very good pitching performance out of their guy," head coach Mike Anderson said. "It was a pitching duel. The momentum seemed to be on their side simply because of the hits and the pressure they put on. I didn't feel like our offense was ever in it even though it was only 2-1. We didn't get in the attack mode. You have to get them credit for that."
The Huskers had a chance to tie the game in the eighth when Kale Kiser drew a bases loaded walk to start the inning. After Bryan Peters was retired, Kiser was erased when he was caught stealing 1-3-6.
Oklahoma outhit Nebraska 14-3 but only carried a 2-0 lead into the sixth inning. That is when the Huskers broke up Smith's no-hitter on an infield single by Peters before Kalkowski ripped a double down the left field line to make it 2-1. From that point on, the Huskers were unable to get a hit until two outs in the ninth on Chad Christensen's single up the middle.
Nebraska had one error in the setback on a tough play at second by Peters. The sophomore initially fumbled a hard-hit grounder from Casey Johnson but recovered to make the throw, which Johnson narrowly beat to the bag. It marked NU's first infield error in seven games.
The Huskers will look to salvage the final game of the series on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. The game will be televised nationally on Fox College Sports (320 on Lincoln Time Warner Cable; 617 on DirecTV).