Husker Baseball Drops Conference Opener

Courtesy: Nebraska Athletics

Iowa City, Iowa – A win on the road in its Big Ten opener slipped away from the Nebraska baseball team (12-8, 0-1 Big Ten) on Friday afternoon at Duane Banks Field in Iowa City, Iowa, as the Iowa Hawkeyes (13-5, 1-0 Big Ten) scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the ninth for a 2-1 comeback win.

The loss spoiled a stellar outing from senior starter Christian DeLeon, who delivered 8.0 shutout innings. DeLeon put together one of the best outings of his career, allowing six hits and no walks, while striking out four. DeLeon set the Hawkeyes down in order four times on the day and allowed just two hits over his finale 5.0 innings of work.

Closer Josh Roeder took the hill in the bottom of the ninth looking for his fourth save of the season. Facing the middle of Iowa's lineup, Roeder got off to a good start with a fly ball out off the bat of Jake Yacinich. The tying run then reached when Mark Peyton drew UI's first walk of the game and was replaced on the base paths by pinch runner Nick Roscetti. Taylor Zeutenhorst continued the rally with a base hit that moved Roscetti to third and Roeder still had a shot to end the game with a double play, but pinch hitter Taylor Kaufman came through with an RBI single that tied the game, 1-1. After a wild pitch put the winning run at third base, the Huskers loaded the bases with an intentional walk to Kris Goodman to setup a double play. The Hawkeyes wouldn't be denied though, as Trevor Kenyon drop a walk-off single into left field on an 0-2 pitch to win the game.

Iowa starter Calvin Mathews didn't factor into the decision either and was nearly as good at DeLeon. The sophomore also went 8.0 innings, but allowed one run on six hits, while striking out five Huskers.

Four of Nebraska's seven hits came off the bats of Michael Pritchard and Ryan Boldt. Pritchard snapped an 0-for-13 slump in the top of the first inning with a two-out single to right field, the 200th hit of his career. With the single, the senior became the 21st player in school history to join the 200 career hit list.

The Huskers broke open the scoring in the top of the seventh, starting with a one-out single by Pat Kelly. Associate Head Coach Will Bolt then dialed up a hit-and-run that was executed perfectly by Boldt, putting runners on the corners for Austin Christensen. The sophomore first baseman nearly hit into a double play, but Boldt broke up the potential double play, allowing Christensen to reach and Kelly to score to give NU a 1-0 lead.

The Huskers and Hawkeyes meet for the second game of their three-game series tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. A pair of juniors will meet on the mound, as the Huskers will start Chance Sinclair (3-0), while the Hawkeyes will counter with Sasha Kuebel (2-0). Lane Grindle and Ben McLaughlin will have the call across the Husker Sports Network.