Lincoln - Joe Gullion?s (Leawood, Kan.) two-run single highlighted a four-run seventh, as No. 11 Nebraska rallied for an 8-5 victory over McNeese State Wednesday evening at Hawks Field.
Gullion, who was making his first start since March 14, delivered a bases-loaded single to center off Cowboy reliever Walt Nolan gave the Huskers (27-9) the lead for good, as Nebraska scored six unanswered runs to overcome a three-run deficit.
NU took advantage of four McNeese State (21-18) errors and a passed ball that led to seven unearned runs and had outstanding pitching from its bullpen, as four relievers combined to allow one hit in 4.1 scoreless innings. Tim Schoeninger (Denver, Colo.) earned the win with a perfect seventh while Jason Burch (Papillion, Neb.) picked up his fourth save, striking out two in 1.1 scoreless innings of work.
Trailing 5-2, the Huskers stormed back, scoring twice in the sixth before taking control in the seventh. NU loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth before Jeff Leise?s (Omaha, Neb.) grounder was thrown away by MSU second baseman Brian Bernhardt, allowing Brandon Fusilier (Coppell, Texas), who reached on a fielder?s choice and Chad Steele (Omaha, Neb.), who singled, to score. On the play, Leise collided with Cowboy pitcher Jacob Marceaux, who was forced to leave the game after allowing four runs - one earned - and striking out eight in 5.2 innings of work.
In the seventh, a walk, two errors and a fielder?s choice loaded the bases with one out, as Gullion, who went 1-for-3 with a pair of RBIs, ripped Nolan?s 3-2 offering up the middle, giving the Huskers a 6-5 lead. Nolan (0-1) took the loss for the visitors, allowing four unearned runs in 0.2 innings of work.
Rhett Gulledge came in relief for McNeese State, but he loaded the bases by walking Steele. Jake Mullinax (Hesperia, Calif.) then coaxed a bases-loaded walk to give the Huskers 7-5 lead. Leise plated NU?s final run of the inning, scoring pinch runner Daniel Bruce (Omaha, Neb.) on a fielder?s choice.
Early on, McNeese State capitalized on a Husker error in the top of the first, as Dooley Prince, who had two hits, singled and stole second before moving to third on a throwing error by Curtis Ledbetter (Lawrence, Kan), setting up Ran Prince?s sacrifice fly one batter later.
The Huskers responded in the bottom of the frame, scoring a pair of runs off Marceaux. Joe Simokaitis (St. Louis, Mo.) and Matt Hopper (Golden, Colo.) drew back-to-back walks before a passed ball moved both runners into scoring position. Freshman Alex Gordon (Lincoln, Neb.), who had two hits, then singled up the middle to give NU a 2-1 lead.
Husker starter Jamie Rodrigue (St. Clair, Mo.) was cruising early on before the Cowboys stuck for two runs in both the fourth and fifth innings. Rodrigue, who was making his first start since March 23, tied a career high with nine strikeouts, but made two mistakes, giving up two-out, two-run homers to Tim Lemke in the fourth and Dustin Smith in the fifth, putting the Huskers in a 5-2 hole.
The Huskers return to action this weekend, as they play host to seventh-ranked Texas. Friday?s first pitch is set for 6:35 p.m.