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SMS Shuts Out Nebraska for Lincoln Regional Title
Lincoln, Neb. - Southwest Missouri State junior right-hander Bob Zimmermann threw a complete-game five-hit shutout to pitch the Bears to a 7-0 win over top-seeded Nebraska and claim the NCAA Lincoln Regional title at Hawks Field on Sunday afternoon.

With the win, SMS improved to 38-24 on the season and claimed the first NCAA Regional title in school history. The Huskers finished the season with a 47-18 record and fell one win short of its fourth straight Super Regional.

The Bears will advance to next weekend’s Super Regional series with the Ohio State Buckeyes, who swept through the Auburn Regional with a 9-7 win over the Auburn Tigers on Sunday afternoon. The site of that Super Regional series will be determined on Monday by the NCAA.

Zimmermann’s masterful performance stunned the 7,456 fans at Hawks Field, who saw the Huskers get shut out for the first time at home since May 14, 1994 (Iowa State, 2-0 at Buck Beltzer Stadium), and the first time in 331 games dating back to May 3, 1998 at Texas (8-0) that the Huskers had been shut out in any game. Nebraska’s streak of 330 games without being shut out was the fourth-longest scoring streak in NCAA history.

Nebraska’s only legitimate scoring threat came in the eighth inning, as Daniel Bruce led off with a single before John Grose followed with a one-out single to give the Huskers runners at first and third. But Jake Mullinax fouled out to the first baseman and Jeff Leise grounded out to short to end the threat. Bruce was the only Husker base runner to reach beyond first base in the game for the Huskers.

Zimmermann improved to 5-3 on the season, striking out seven Huskers without issuing a single walk in a 121-pitch performance. The Creve Coeur, Mo., native was also named the NCAA Lincoln Regional Most Valuable Player.

While Zimmermann silenced the NU bats, the SMS offense found production up and down the lineup. Eight Bear hitters recorded at least one hit, led by a 3-for-4 effort at the plate by Shaun Marcum and a 3-for-5 game for Brooks Colvin. Marcum (shortstop/pitcher) and Colvin (third base) both joined Zimmermann on the all-tournament team.

Tony Piazza provided the biggest blow for the Bears with his solo home run to lead off the sixth inning to cap his perfect 2-for-2 game at the plate. Piazza, who was named to the all-tournament team as a catcher, added a sacrifice fly to drive in the Bears’ first run of the game in the second inning. He also scored the Bears’ fourth run of the game after leading off the fourth inning with a single, and was hit by a pitch in the seventh inning.

Center fielder Dant’e Brinkley, pitcher Brad Ziegler and designated hitter Clay Wheeler rounded out SMS’s representatives on the all-tournament team.

Husker starter Phil Shirek took the loss on the mound, surrendering three earned runs on four hits in just 2.2 innings of work. Shirek fell to 5-3 on the season.

The Bears scratched together their first run in the second inning off Shirek, as Wheeler and Marcum singled, before advancing on Greg Mathis’ sacrifice bunt. Piazza followed with a sacrifice fly to center to give the Bears a 1-0 lead.

SMS added a pair of runs in the third inning off Shirek, as Scott Nasby led off with a single. Shirek struck out Brinkley and Colvin, before walking Rick Wilson and hitting Wheeler to load the bases. Marcum then greeted reliever Steve Hale with a two-out RBI single from Marcum.

Hale struck out Mathis to end the inning, but the Bears struck for two more runs in the fourth, as Piazza and Adam Pummill started things off with singles before advancing on Nasby’s sacrifice bunt. Brinkley drove in Piazza with a groundout to shortstop, and Colvin followed with an RBI single to give the Bears a 5-0 lead.

Grose was the only Husker to record two hits off Zimmermann, going 2-for-3 with a pair of singles. Joe Simokaitis, Matt Hopper and Bruce were the only other Huskers to manage hits. All five NU hits were singles.

Hopper (first base) and Bruce (outfield) led NU’s four-player contingent on the all-tournament team. They were joined by Mullinax (second base) and Curtis Ledbetter (outfield).

Game Notes
*The Huskers got shut out for the first time at home since May 14, 1994 (Iowa State, 2-0 at Buck Beltzer Stadium), and the first time in 331 games dating back to May 3, 1998 at Texas (8-0) that the Huskers had been shut out in any game. Nebraska’s streak of 330 games without being shut out was the fourth-longest scoring streak in NCAA history.

*- Nebraska now falls to 22-17 in eight NCAA postseason appearances.

*- Nebraka’s 47 wins tied for the sixth-highest total in school history and marked the fourth straight year that NU has won 47 or more games in a season.

*- The Husker senior class of Jeff Leise, Matt Hopper, Steve Hale, Jamie Rodrigue and Josh Birmingham (2002-03) won a school-record 195 games over the past four years

*- Matt Hopper finished his career holding school and Big 12 record in hits (338), runs scored (246), homers (64) and RBIs (271).

*- Jeff Leise finished his career second in hits (305), runs scored (210) and triples (20).

*- Jamie Rodrigue’s win earlier today was his 23rd of his career, moving him into sole possession of fourth place on NU’s career wins list. The senior from St. Clair, Mo., finished his career ranked second in innings pitched (.296.2) and starts (53) and sixth in strikeouts (200).

*- Nebraska hitters were hit a school-record 103 times this season, the sixth-highest total in NCAA history, as five players (Jake Mullinax, 17; Daniel Bruce 14; Alex Gordon, 11; Brandon Fusilier 11 and Joe Simokaitis) all reached double figures in that category.

NCAA Lincoln Regional All-Tournament Team
Most Outstanding Player - Bob Zimmermann, Pitcher, Southwest Missouri State
Catcher - Tony Piazza**, Southwest Missouri State
First Base - Matt Hopper**, Nebraska
Second Base - Jake Mullinax, Nebraska
Third Base - Brooks Colvin, Southwest Missouri State
Shortstop/Pitcher* - Shaun Marcum**, Southwest Missouri State
Outfield - Ryan Goleski, Eastern Michigan
Outfield - Daniel Bruce, Nebraska
Outfield - Curtis Ledbetter, Nebraska
Designated Hitter - Dant’e Brinkley, Southwest Missouri State
Pitcher - Bob Zimmermann**, Southwest Missouri State
Pitcher* - Brad Ziegler, Southwest Missouri State
*Brad Ziegler and Shaun Marcum received the same number of votes for the all-tournament team as pitchers.
**Unanimous selections received a vote at a position on every ballot.

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