Huntsville, Texas - The No. 15 Nebraska baseball team concluded its five-game swing through Texas with a disappointing 10-3 loss at Sam Houston State Wednesday afternoon. The Huskers, who dropped to 11-6 on the season, committed a season-high five errors, while the Bearkats took control of the contest with a five-run fifth inning before delivering the knockout punch with a four more runs in the eighth.
Jeremy Locke, Dom Garcia and Jonathan Stone drove in three runs apiece, as Sam Houston State (11-11) had 10 hits off five Husker pitchers. Locke went 1-for-3, but also scored three times, giving Bearkat pitching staff ample support. Ryan Herrera (2-0) earned the win in relief, firing 4.2 innings of five-hit ball with four strikeouts.
"It is one of the most disappointing losses because of our effort," Anderson said. "It (the effort) was extremely disappointing, regardless of who we were playing."
"To me, this is a typical game against a team like this where we got a lead early, but they stayed in the game and got some confidence and all of a sudden, we were trying to do too much," Anderson said. "The most disappointing part for me was that they pulled away and took command. We didn?t respond offensively. We didn?t respond pitching wise and didn?t respond defensively."
Nebraska, which dropped four games for the first time since the 1999 season, was led by second baseman Bubbs Merrill, as the junior college transfer had three hits and scored two of the Huskers? three runs. Matt Hopper and Brandon Fusilier also had two hits apiece, but the Huskers stranded 12 runners and went 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
Nebraska took advantage of a pair of early Bearkat miscues, parlaying them into single runs in both the first and third innings to jump out to a 2-0 lead. With two outs in the first, Hopper doubled to right center and moved to third on wild pitch before coming around to score on an error by SHSU shortstop Cory Whitlock, whose throw on Brandon Fusilier?s grounder was wide of first.
Merrill opened the fourth with an infield single, and stole second to move into scoring position. A walk to Jake Mullinax put runners on first and second before a wild pitch advanced both runners. On the play, catcher Andy Kasparek?s throw to second was high, allowing Merrill to score from third, giving the Huskers a two-run cushion
The Bearkats, who were held hitless through three innings by NU starter Jason Burch, finally got something going in the fourth, as a walk and a hit batter put two on with no outs before Jonathan Stone?s RBI single cut the Husker lead to 2-1.
Sam Houston State took control in the fifth, scoring five runs of Burch and reliever Justin Pakarek. Two base hits and a hit batsman chased the Husker starter and loaded the bases. With one out, Locke?s foul pop was dropped by first baseman Matt Hopper in the swirling wing, giving the Bearkat right fielder new life. Locke took advantage of the miscue, roping an RBI single to right to score one, while the hit was misplayed by Daniel Bruce, allowing a second runner to score on the play. Jonathan Hamilton and Stone both added two-out RBI singles, putting SHSU up 5-2 before Pekarek walked Brandon Foster with the bases loaded for the fifth run of the frame.
Burch struck out five, but allowed two runs on four hits and was not involved in the decision, while Pekarek (0-1) allowed four runs - one earned - on four hits in just 0.2 of an inning to suffer the loss.
Trailing 6-2, the Huskers had their best chance in the eighth, as Merrill and pinch hitter Chad Steele opened the frame with base hits before a balk moved both runners into scoring position. Mullinax?s ground out scored one run, and the Huskers eventually had the tying run at the plate, but Nathan Osterman squelched the rally by striking out Hopper to end the inning.
The hosts put the game out of reach in the eighth, scoring four runs off three Husker pitchers, highlighted by Garcia?s two-out, two-run double.
The Huskers return home to begin a three-game series against Kansas State this weekend. Friday?s first pitch is set for 2:05 p.m. and will be carried live on the Pinnacle Sports Network and video-streamed on HuskersNside.