Husker Comeback Falls Short
Lincoln – Nick Sullivan continued to swing a hot stick, going 2-for-3 with a homer and two RBIs, as Nebraska nearly overcame a six-run deficit in falling to CSU Bakersfield, 8-7, Sunday afternoon.
Sullivan, who is hitting .450 with four homers and seven RBIs over his last seven games, belted his sixth homer of the year and second in as many days, while true freshman Khiry Cooper homered and drove in a pair of runs in the setback.
A five-run fourth inning by CSU Bakersfield (11-32) was too much to overcome, although Nebraska gave it run late, leaving the tying run in scoring position in each of the final two frames.
In the eighth, Sullivan drew a leadoff walk and eventually stole second, but Erik Draxton came in and put the retired the next three Huskers to escape unharmed. One inning later, Boomer Collins opened the ninth with a walk and got to second on a wild pitch, but the Huskers could not get a tying hit against Draxton, who fanned three over two hitless frames for his first save.
Leading 1-0 after a second-inning homer by Jeremy Rodriguez, the Roadrunners chased Husker starter Sean Yost with five runs in the fourth, taking advantage of wildness from the Husker right-hander. A single and two walks loaded the bases, and Yost had an opportunity to escape with only minimal damage, as Stuart Smith grounded into a double play to make it a 2-0. After a walk, JJ Henry plated another run by legging out a bunt single before Kyle Richardson made it a six-run lead with a three-run homer to right center.
Richardson had two hits and three RBIs while Richard Escalera chipped in a pair of hits and drove in two runs.
Yost (1-5) suffered the loss, allowing six runs on five hits over 3.2 innings, as he walked a season-high six hitters.
The Huskers were held scoreless by left-hander Jonathan Montoya through the first three frames before starting a comeback in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs, Jeff Tezak singled, moved to second on a balk and scored on Jake Mort’s RBI single before Sullivan made it a 6-3 lead with a two-run homer to right center.
Nebraska (22-28-1) continued the chip away in the fifth, as Khiry Cooper’s second homer of the year, a solo shot to left, trimmed the lead to 6-4.
The Roadrunners took advantage of the Huskers’ lone error of the afternoon in the sixth, plating two unearned runs to make it 8-4 on a two-run double by Escalera, only to see NU score three times in the bottom of the frame.
With two outs, a Mort single and a walk to Sullivan started the rally before Kyle Bubak coaxed a walk to load the bases. Cody Neer was hit by a Montoya offering before back-to-back walks to Cooper and Boomer Collins made it a one-run game. The left-hander got Adam Bailey to fly out to end the threat.
Montoya went seven-plus innings for the win, scattering six hits and allowing seven runs to up his record to 4-5.
The Huskers head to Omaha Tuesday night to take on the Creighton Bluejays in the rubber match between the two teams. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. and tickets can be purchased at Ticketmaster outlets across the state and on Ticketmaster.