Cowboys Slip Past Huskers, 1-0
Stillwater, Okla. – On a night where pitching reigned supreme, Andrew Oliver out-dueled Johnny Dorn, as No. 21 Oklahoma State topped sixth-ranked Nebraska, 1-0, Friday night.
Oliver, a sophomore left-hander, needed to be brilliant to top the effort of Dorn, as the two teams combined for just seven hits on the evening. Oliver (3-2) fired a three-hit shutout, fanning 10 without a walk and didn’t allow a Husker runner into scoring position until the ninth.
Oliver needed to be that good to earn the win, as Dorn (4-1) was his equal on the night, allowing just four hits and striking out seven to suffer his first loss of the season. Dorn, who has allowed two runs or less in seven of his eight starts this year, allowed his only run in the sixth, when Oklahoma State took advantage of the soggy outfield to plate the only run of the game.
"Both kids were great tonight," Nebraska Head Coach Mike Anderson said. "Johnny was great and deserved to get a win, but it didn’t happen. He’s been on the other side of that before. It was one of those things. I thought he pitched extremely well and Oliver pitched extremely well. It boiled down to someone slipping in the outfield. It was one of those things."
Oklahoma State (22-9, 7-6 Big 12) plated the only run of the night in the sixth on Jordy Mercer’s RBI single. Michael Dabbs opened the inning by hitting a ball in the gap in left center that NU center fielder Nimmo had ran down, but lost his footing when slowing down, allowing Dabbs to reach with a triple. Mercer then sent a 2-2 pitch through the drawn-in infield, scoring Dabbs to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.
The Huskers (24-5-1, 10-2-1 Big 12) had a chance to tie the game in the ninth, getting the tying run into scoring position against the Cowboy left-hander, who tossed his first career complete game. Cody Neer opened the frame with a single to center before Ben Kline’s sacrifice moved pinch-runner Dan Johnston to second. Oliver then got DJ Belfonte to pop out to first before fanning Brett Sowers to hand the Huskers their first shutout since April of 2007.
"I thought both pitchers were that dominant tonight," Anderson said. "We had a chance to watch video of him (Oliver) from last year, and we knew his numbers and the scouting reports we had on him. That’s a different guy than what we saw on video last year. He’s attacking with the fastball more, his mechanics are different and I thought he had a great approach tonight."
Opportunities were tough to come by for either team, as Oklahoma State’s best early chance came against Dorn in the fourth, as Dean Green drew a one-out walk, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by Mitch Abeita, much to the chagrin of Anderson, who argued that OSU’s Luis Flores interfered with Abeita’s throw after striking out. Dorn got the Huskers out of that jam unscathed by striking out Neil Medchill to end the inning.
Oliver was cruising along at that point, retiring the first 15 Huskers in order before Nimmo opened the sixth with a singled to right. Nebraska could not sustain the rally, as Neer flew out before Ben Kline grounded into an inning-ending double play.
The two teams will continue the series Saturday at 1 p.m., and the game will be carried on the Husker Sports Network and on Huskers.com. There will be no live video of Saturday’s game on HuskersNside.