Huskers Topple Longhorns, 14-4
Austin, Texas – Freshmen Dan Johnston and Ben Kline had three hits apiece, as No. 15 Nebraska overcame a four-run deficit with 14 unanswered runs to post a 14-4 victory over No. 13 Texas Friday afternoon.
The Huskers (20-3-1, 6-0-1 Big 12) trailed 4-0 after three innings before erupting for season highs in both hits (17) and runs (14) against six Longhorn hurlers to remain undefeated in Big 12 action.
Kline and Johnston both established career highs in both hits and RBIs, as Kline went 3-for-5 and drove in three runs, while Johnson, who entered the game in the fifth inning, had three hits, two RBIs and scored twice to pace the Huskers, whose 6-0-1 conference mark is its best start in Big 12 history.
Johnny Dorn (3-0) earned the win, allowing four runs on seven hits over five-plus innings before Dan Jennings slammed the door with four perfect innings, including four strikeouts, to collect his first save. Jennings has now allowed one run in his last 20 innings of work, lowering his ERA to 1.96.
Anderson said that Dorn’s effort after a rocky start was important, as the Huskers were able to regain their footing and post their eighth come-from-behind win. The four-run deficit was the largest NU has overcome in a game since April of 2006.
"I thought out kids played hard today," Anderson said. "For us, the key was the way Johnny (Dorn) kept fighting, especially in the fourth and fifth innings. We were able to put up some zeroes and that allowed us to stay in it and then we had some good things go our way."
Down 4-1, the Huskers took the lead for good in the fifth, chasing UT right-hander Ken Kasparek and taking the lead for good with four runs. Abeita was hit by a Kasparek offering before Nick Sullivan’s single put runners on the corners. Corriston pulled NU within a run, sending a 2-2 pitch down the line in left for a two-run double. Bryce Nimmo walked before Johnson’s pinch-hit single loaded the bases. Kline then came through with the big hit, sending a 2-2 pitch from reliever Brandon Workman to left center, giving the Huskers a 5-4 lead.
"I thought we did a good job, especially with two strikes, and were able to get some big hits," Anderson said. "We had some chances early, but with the aggressiveness we showed, we kept putting the ball in play and got some good bounces."
Keith Shinaberry (1-1) took the loss for Texas, as he allowed the go-ahead run in the fifth, walking the only batter he faced.
The Huskers kept adding to the lead, as Jake Opitz’s third homer of the year made it a 6-4 lead before Nebraska tacked on four runs in both the seventh and eighth innings for the final margin. In the seventh,
Johnston RBI double and Abeita’s two-run double highlighted a four-run frame that pushed the lead to 10-4
In the eighth, Johnston, Kline and Belfonte all had run-scoring doubles before Abeita’s second hit of the game, an RBI single, wrapped up the offensive outburst, as Nebraska’s 14 runs were a season high for a Texas opponent this season.
Early on, it looked like a long afternoon for the Huskers, as Texas scored in each of the first three innings against Dorn, who had not allowed more than two runs in any of his previous five starts.
Texas struck in the bottom of the first against Dorn, as Travis Tucker tripled to right center with one out before scoring moments later on a wild pitch. In the second, it was two-out hitting that keyed the UT attack,
as the Longhorns loaded the bases with two down before Michael Torres’ two-run single spotted the hosts a 3-0 lead.
One inning later, the Huskers found themselves in a 4-0 hole after consecutive doubles to Jordan Danks and Brandon Belt, but Dorn settled down, getting out of the inning and retired nine in a row before Preston Clark opened the sixth with a double.
The Huskers and Longhorns will continue the series Saturday night at 6 p.m. The game will be carried live on the Husker Sports Network and on Huskers.com and will be televised on FSN (Ch. 647 on DirecTV; Ch. 447; Ch. 37 on Time Warner in Lincoln).