Tempe, Ariz. – The Husker offense was unable to find a rhythm on Sunday afternoon at Tempe Diablo Stadium, as the Nebraska baseball team fell to 2-2 on the season following a 5-3 loss to the Gonzaga Bulldogs. The Huskers put together a rally in the ninth inning and had the tying run at the plate, but the Huskers were unable to come up with enough hitting down the stretch.
The Huskers entered the bottom of the ninth in a 5-1 hole, but got off to a good start with a walk to Ryan Boldt. Pinch hitter Austin Christensen then struck out and Christian Cox grounded into a fielder's choice, leaving the Huskers with a runner on first and two out. Freshman Ben Miller pinch hit and roped a single, before Austin Darby followed with a single that scored two runs, as Zags' right fielder Payden Lamb misplayed the ball, allowing pinch runner Ty Kildow to score along with Cox. Steven Reveles stepped to the plate as the tying run, but grounded out to third, ending the Husker comeback.
The Zags played aggressively all day and picked up their first win of the year after starting the Husker Classic 0-3. NU starter Derek Burkamper sent the Zags down in order in the first, but was then tagged for a pair of runs in the second and three runs in the third. Nebraska's bullpen kept the Huskers in the game with 6.0 innings of shutout relief, but NU's offense was unable to solve Gonzaga starter Andrew Sopko, who scattered just four hits over 7.0 innings of shutout work on the mound.
Michael Pritchard continued his strong start to the 2014 season with a 2-for-4 day at the plate, including his first career homerun, a solo shot in the bottom of the eighth inning. It was the first home run for the Huskers in 2014 and the first for Pritchard in 516 at-bats. Pritchard is hitting .500 (7-for-14) on the season with a team-high six RBIs and five extra-base hits, including three triples. The senior from Omaha has also extended his on-base streak to 46 games dating back to last season.
Nebraska returns to the state of Arizona next weekend for three games against teams from the Pac-12 Conference, starting the Oregon State Beavers on Friday, Feb. 21, at 2 p.m. (CT). Nebraska then meets Washington on Saturday at 8 p.m. and Utah on Sunday at 1 p.m. The first two games of the weekend will be held at Surprise Stadium in Surprise, Ariz., while Sunday's meeting with the Utes will be at Goodyear Park in Goodyear, Ariz.