Huskers Fall to Missouri
Columbia, Mo. – Ben Kline had a pair of hits and drove in two runs, but No. 5 Nebraska was unable to salvage the series finale, falling at No. 12 Missouri, 7-3, Sunday afternoon.
Kline led the Huskers (39-12-1, 17-9-1 Big 12) by going 2-for-4 and driving in a pair of runs for his seventh multi-RBI performance of the year, while Jake Opitz had three of the Huskers’ six hits on the afternoon.
For Missouri, Greg Folgia had three hits, including a homer, and three RBIs, as the top three hitters in the Missouri lineup combined to drive in six of the Tigers’ seven runs on Sunday. Ryan Lollis had a pair of RBIs while Aaron Senne chipped in a pair of hits and drove in a run for the Tigers (37-17, 16-11 Big 12). It marked the first time NU had been swept since dropping three games at Baylor in 2006.
The Huskers finished the Big 12 schedule in third place and will take on Baylor in the opening game of the Big 12 Tournament. The conference office will announce the times and the brackets later tonight.
Rick Zagone (2-3) earned the win in relief, allowing one run on two hits over 2.1 innings of work, while Kyle Gibson went the final three innings of his second save of the year.
Nebraska used some timely hitting in the top of the second, taking a 1-0 lead on Kline’s RBI single. With one out, DJ Belfonte was hit by a pitch, stole second and moving to third on Cody Neer’s ground out. Kline fought off three two-strike pitches before bouncing a single up the middle to score Belfonte.
Nebraska’s lead would be short-lived as the Tigers took advantage of Husker starter Aaron Pribanic’s control, scoring three times to take a 3-1 lead. With one out, Pribanic walked the next two hitters before Steve Gray’s RBI single to right tied the score at one. Andrew Thigpen’s infield single loaded the bases before Pribanic struck out Kyle Mach for the second out. Folgia than hit a grounder that Tyler Farst could not pick up for an infield single, allowing MU’s second run to score. Lollis then coaxed a bases-loaded walk for the Tigers’ third run of the inning.
Pribanic (3-4) lasted just 1.2 innings, allowing three runs on four hits along with three walks to take the loss.
The Huskers manufactured a run in the top of the fourth, taking advantage of a Missouri error to pull within 3-2. Belfonte opened the inning with a walk and stole second before advancing on Ben Kline’s fly ball to right. Bryce Nimmo hit a fly ball that was dropped by Senne, allowing Belfonte to score
Missouri got both runs back in the bottom of the fourth One out singles by Mach and Folgia put runners on the corners for the Tigers. Lollis plated the first run with a ground out to second before Senne made it a 5-2 game with an RBI single to score Folgia.
Nebraska pulled to within 5-3 in the sixth, as Kline came through with his second two-out RBI single of the afternoon. Farst opened the inning with a single and moved to second on Neer’s grounder before Kline came up with sharp single to right, scoring Farst from second.
That would be as close as the Huskers would get, as Mach opened the sixth with a single and came home on Folgia’s two-run homer to left center to make it a 7-3 cushion.
The Huskers will head directly to Oklahoma City from Columbia where they will open up Big 12 Tournament action on Wednesday against sixth-seeded Baylor.