Husker Comeback Against Creighton Falls Short
Lincoln, Neb. - Nebraska's attempt for a season sweep of Creighton fell short Tuesday night, as the Huskers nearly overcame a nine-run deficit before falling 9-8 in front of 17,588 fans at Omaha's TD Ameritrade Park.
The Huskers spotted the Bluejays a 9-0 lead through 2 ½ innings before mounting a furious comeback, scoring eight times and putting the tying run on base in three of the last four innings.
Trailing 9-8, Cory Burleson looped a single into left to start a hopeful ninth inning rally for the Big Red. With Khiry Cooper pinch running, Kurt Spomer struck out Tanner Krietemeier, bringing up Michael Pritchard. The freshman battled to a full count before sending Spomer's sixth pitch back up the middle, where CU shortstop Jimmy Swift touched the bag and turned a 6-3 game-ending double play.
Pritchard, who went 2-for-3 with three runs scored, had been one of the hottest Husker bats as of late, hitting safely in seven of his last 12 at bats heading into the ninth. He was one of four Huskers with a two-hit game on the night, joining Kale Kiser (2-for-4), Chad Christensen (2-for-5) and Krietemeier (2-for-5).
Nebraska put itself in position for an improbable comeback victory after a lackluster start. A five-run sixth inning on five hits and an error gave the Huskers a chance after falling behind 9-0. Burleson drew a leadoff walk to open the sixth before Krietemeier and Pritchard started the spurt with back-to-back singles. Peters then roped a two-run double down the left field line that forced the Jays to make their fourth pitching change.
Asche plated Pritchard on a grounder to second off of Jack VanLeur that was dropped by Bluejay first baseman Nick Judkins. The Huskers took advantage of the Creighton miscue, as Kiser singled to third base to load the bases two batters later before Kash Kalkowski delivered a two-run single into right center. The Jays brought in Reese McGraw with runners on the corners and one out, and the CU reliever retired Christensen and Burleson to end the inning to preserve CU's one-run lead.
The Bluejays took a 6-0 lead through two innings, surpassing their run total from the previous two games against Nebraska.
Nebraska starter Matt Freeman endured one of the stranger outings of his career. The Omaha, Neb., native began the game by striking out Michael Mutcheson on four pitches before allowing a single and then hitting consecutive batters to load the bases with one out. After throwing two balls to Alex Staehely, Freeman left the game with a hand injury, as the senior went just 0.1 innings to take the loss.
Jon Keller relieved Freeman and gave up a pair of two-run singles to give Creighton a quick 4-0 lead before the Huskers came to bat. Keller started the second inning but was relieved after allowing four hits, including a two-run homer to left by Jimmy Swift. Vogt became the third NU pitcher in the game and Creighton would put up three runs in the third inning with the aid of a throwing error to extend the lead to 9-0.
Pritchard gave NU its first offensive burst in the bottom of the third by leading off the inning with his first career double, sending a full count pitch off the left field wall. Pritchard advanced to third on a Peters fly ball and then scored on Asche's sacrifice fly to right field to make it 9-1.
Senior right hander Chase Adams halted the Creighton offense in the fourth and fifth innings as he came in and turned in a pair of 1-2-3 innings to begin a streak of seeing the Jays go scoreless over the final six frames. While Adams put up a pair of zeroes, NU quietly chipped away, plating single runs in the fourth and fifth to pull within 9-3.
Chad Christensen, who had NU's first hit of the game in the second, plated the Huskers' second run with an RBI single in the fourth, while Kale Kiser's RBI double in the fifth continued the Huskers' momentum heading into a wild sixth inning.
Tuesday night marked Nebraska's final non-conference game of the season, as the Huskers finished the out-of-conference slate with a 21-8 record. Nebraska will travel to No. 11 Texas A&M this weekend to face the Aggies, who currently lead the Big 12 standings. The series kicks off Friday night at 6:35 p.m. and the games can be heard on the Husker Sports Network and Huskers.com.