Huskers Fall to SMS, 4-2
- Southwest Missouri State pitchers Brad Ziegler and Shaun Marcum
combined to hold Nebraska to just two runs on six hits, as the third-seeded
Bears knocked off the top-seeded Huskers, 4-2, in the NCAA Lincoln
Regional at Hawks Field on Saturday afternoon.
With the victory, SMS (37-23) advanced
to Sundayís regional championship game to face the winner of tonightís
elimination game between the Huskers (45-17) and No. 4 seed Eastern
Ziegler (11-1) won the pitching dual
with Nebraskaís Aaron Marsden by allowing just two runs on five
hits in six innings. Ziegler, who surrendered just one earned
run, struck out five and walked just one Husker. SMS closer
Shaun Marcum came on in relief of Ziegler in the seventh and allowed
just one hit and two walks with one strikeout in the final three
innings for his 13th save of the season and second in
NCAA Regional play.
Marsden suffered the complete-game loss
to fall to 8-3 on the season. The left-hander allowed a career-high
11 hits to the Bears, surrendering four earned runs with two walks
and six strikeouts in a 137-pitch performance.
Marsden and the Huskers jumped to a quick
1-0 lead in the top of the first with an unearned run off Ziegler,
which came on Alex Gordonís routine fly ball to center that was
dropped by SMSís Dantíe Brinkley. The error allowed Matt Hopper
to score from first base, after he reached on a two-out walk.
The Bears answered quickly in the bottom
of the first, as Brooks Colvin singled with one out, before moving
to third on Clay Wheelerís two-out single. After a walk to
Tony Piazza loaded the bases, Marcum drove in SMSís first run of
the day with an infield single to third base.
Marsden and Ziegler silenced both offenses
in the second, third and fourth innings, before the Bears struck
for two runs in the bottom of the fifth off Marsden. Brinkley
laced a one-out double down the left field line, before Colvin followed
with an RBI double to give the Bears a 2-1 lead. Wheeler added
a two-out, RBI single to center to score Colvin and give SMS a 3-1
The Huskers responded in the top of the
sixth inning with a one-out single by Hopper, who moved to second
on a Ziegler balk and scored on Curtis Ledbetterís two-out, RBI
single to center.
After Marsden set the Bears down quietly
in the sixth, Brandon Fusilier brought the 6,581 fans at Hawks Field
to their feet with a leadoff double to left field to chase Ziegler.
Marcum entered the game and wild pitched Fusilier to third before
walking John Grose to give the Huskers runners at the corners with
nobody out. But Bubbs Merrill and Jeff Leise both popped out
in the infield, before Grose was thrown out by Piazza at first trying
to get back to the bag.
Marsden retired the Bears in order in
the seventh, and the Huskers tried to rally again in the eighth,
putting runners on first and second with two outs, before Daniel
Bruce flied out to left field to end the NU threat.
SMS added an insurance run in the bottom
of the eighth on a two-out double by Rick Wilson, who then stole
third base and scored on a wild pitch to produce the 4-2 margin.
*The 11 hits allowed by Aaron Marsden
were the most by an opponent in his career. It was Marsdenís
fifth complete game of the season and eighth of his career.
His 115 innings pitched this season are the third-most in school
*The loss by Nebraska snapped the Huskersí
10-game NCAA regional winning streak dating back to the 2000 season.
*NUís loss was also its first in Lincoln
during NCAA regional play in three seasons.
*SMS advanced to the final day of NCAA
Regional competition for the fifth consecutive time (1996, 1997,
1999, 2002, 2003).
*Dantíe Brinkley extended his hitting
streak to 16 games with his one-out double in the fifth inning.
He is 27-of-65 (.415) in those 16 games.
*Shaun Marcum has 13 saves in 14 opportunities
this season. The 13 saves is a continuing SMS single-season
record, and his 18 career saves also represent an SMS career record.
*Brad Zieglerís 11th win marks
an SMS single-season school record.