Huskers-Sooners Tie Finale
Lincoln – Sunday’s baseball game between Nebraska and Oklahoma featured nearly everything, but a winner, as the game was called after 10 innings with the teams deadlocked at eight.
The game, which last three hours and 35 minutes, went beyond a 4:30 p.m. curfew established because of Oklahoma’s travel schedule. The tie was the fourth one in league games since the Big 12 was established in 1996, and the first tie the Huskers have been involved with since 1996.
The Huskers (17-3-1, 5-0-1 Big 12) were within one pitch of a series sweep before Oklahoma (7-17-1, 0-2-1) rallied for five unearned runs in the top of the ninth. With the bases loaded and two outs, Spencer Selby pulled the Sooners within 6-5 with a two-run single. Aaron Baker than put OU ahead 8-6, sending a 1-0 pitch over the fence from Mike Nesseth in right for a three-run homer – his first of the season.
Baker went 3-for-5 with a homer and four RBIs while Selby drove in three runs for the Sooners.
Nebraska Head Coach Mike Anderson was disappointed that the Huskers could not complete their fourth straight weekend sweep.
“We had an opportunity to sweep and an opportunity to finish them off,” Anderson said following the tie. “We’ve done a lot of good things, and I’m still encouraged by that. Let’s take a part of this game and a part of this team and see what we need to do. We’ve been working on the seventh, eighth and ninth and finishing people off, and we’ve done that. When you struggle a little with that, you need to take a peek and work on that.”
Nebraska fought back in the bottom of the ninth against Oklahoma closer Jake McCarter, scoring twice to send the game into extra innings. Mitch Abeita opened the frame with his sixth homer of the year, getting the Huskers within a run. Nick Sullivan then coaxed a walk, moved to second on a Craig Corriston sacrifice and got to third on Bryce Nimmo’s single. Dan Johnston then knotted the game with a sacrifice fly to left to score Sullivan and cap a frantic ninth inning.
“It doesn’t surprise me,” Anderson said of the team’s ninth-inning comeback. “The kids have fought. I’ll give them a lot of credit for fighting back. We could have walked away with a tough loss – and it still feels that way – but on paper, it’s a little bit different.”
Abeita paced the Husker attack by going 3-for-5 with a homer and two RBIs, while Nimmo had two hits and drove in a pair of runs for Nebraska.
The tie spoiled a strong outing from Aaron Pribanic, who pitched into the eighth inning and was in line for the victory before the Oklahoma comeback. The Husker starter allowed two runs in the first before settling down, scattering 10 hits and striking out six before coming out of the game in the eighth.
Trailing 3-1, Nebraska fought back against Oklahoma starter Michael Rocha, scoring three times to take a 4-3 lead. After three straight singles loaded the bases, Nick Sullivan made it a 3-2 game with an RBI single to left. Two batters later, Nimmo gave Nebraska the lead with a two-run single through the right side of the Sooner defense.
Nebraska extended the lead to 6-3 one inning later, getting an RBI single from Nimmo and a sacrifice fly from Sullivan, and was in position to complete the sweep before the Sooners took advantage of a costly Husker miscue to keep the ninth inning alive.
With one on, Erik Anderson induced a grounder by Jamie Johnson’s that seemed to be a tailor-made double play, but shortstop Ben Kline dropped the throw from Jake Opitz, putting two on with no outs. An Aljay Davis bunt loaded the bases, but Anderson got Mike Gosse to pop out for the first out and struck out J.T. Wise for the second out before Selby kept the rally alive.
The Huskers wrap up the homestand this week, as they play host to Northern Colorado on Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday’s first pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. and the game will be carried on selected Husker Sports Network stations.