Lafayette, La. – Husker starter Mike Nesseth turned in a solid pitching effort, but Michael Cook was a tad better, as Louisiana Lafayette took the first game of Saturday’s twinbill, 2-1, at M. L. Tigue Moore Field.
On an afternoon where hits were hard to come by, Cook out-dueled Nesseth, as the teams combined for just five hits on the afternoon. The Ragin’ Cajuns (1-1) had just two hits – both coming in the fifth inning, including Kyle Bostick’s RBI single that spotted the hosts a 2-0 lead.
Cook handcuffed the Huskers for most of the afternoon, holding the Big Red hitless until the sixth and allowing one run on two hits over 6.2 innings to earn the victory. Luke Wagley tossed a perfect 2.1 innings for the save, as he got the Cajun out of a dicey situation in the seventh.
Cook’s performance overshadowed a strong performance by Nesseth, who allowed one earned run on two hits in a hard-luck loss. Nesseth fanned a career-high seven hitters in his first start, but the Husker offense was held in check by the ULL right-hander, who held the Huskers (1-1) to three singles.
Louisiana Lafayette got on the board without the benefit of a hit in the bottom of the first, getting a sacrifice fly off the bat of Scott Hawkins to score Brian Bowman to take a 1-0 lead. Bowman coaxed a walk to open the inning before stealing second and moving to third on a sacrifice bunt. After a Husker error put runners on the corners, Hawkins lofted a sacrifice fly to right to plate Bowman.
Neither team had a hit until the bottom of the fifth, when ULL strung together a pair of hits to extend the lead to 2-0. Greg Fontenot got the Ragin’ Cajuns first hit, as he doubled down the first base line with one out. Two batters later, Bostick singled to center to score Fontenot with the game’s second run.
Nebraska finally managed some offense off of Cook in the top of the sixth, getting a pair of runners on base, but were unable to sustain the rally. Ben Kline provided the Huskers with their first runner after being hit by a Cook offering, but he was picked off first moments later. Freshman Cody Asche then ended Cook’s no-hit bid with a single to center, but Cory Burleson grounded into an inning-ending double play to end the threat.
After knocking on the door in the sixth, the Huskers finally got to Cook in the seventh and chased the Ragin’ Cajun right-hander after 6.2 innings. Belfonte opened the seventh with a walk and moved to second on a grounder by pinch hitter Tyler Rank before Jeff Tezak lined a single to left center, scoring Belfonte to make it a one-run game. Tezak tried to leg the hit into a double, but was thrown out on the play for the second out. Adam Bailey kept the rally alive with a single, but Luke Wagley came in out of the bullpen and got Nick Sullivan to ground out to second and put down the Huskers in order the final two innings for a save.
The second game will begin at 5:10 p.m. and will be carried in progress on selected Husker Sports Network stations.