Husker Baseball Takes Series from BYU
Posted By: Sports
Story Courtesy: Nebraska Athletics
Peoria, Ariz. – The Nebraska baseball team (4-3, 0-0 Big Ten) wrapped up a 3-1 series win over the BYU Cougars on Saturday afternoon with a 9-1 victory in the series finale at the Peoria Sports Complex. The Huskers had a home-field advantage on the day as nearly 2,000 Husker fans showed up to support the team even though the Huskers were playing 1,200 miles from Lincoln.
The Husker offense found its rhythm on Saturday, as the nine runs matched the nine combined runs NU scored through the first three games of the series. Nebraska also stole four bases on the afternoon after swiping just two bases through the first six games of the season.
Head Coach Darin Erstad shuffled his lineup in the finale, moving Jake Schleppenbach to the leadoff spot after Austin Darby had been there through the first six games of the season. The move paid off, as the Schleppenbach led off the first, fifth and eighth innings with singles, while scoring in both the first and fifth.
Ben Miller ended the day going 2-for-5, including his second double of the series, and a career-high five RBIs. The sophomore’s biggest hit of the day came with two outs in the sixth when he roped a three-RBI double into the left-center-field gap.
Sophomore Ryan Boldt carried the Huskers over the four game series with a 10-for-15 performance, including a triple on Saturday. The Cougars intentionally walked Boldt twice during the weekend and both times Blake Headley made them pay with a double.
The Huskers got 3.1 innings out of sophomore starter Max Knutson and then a pair of freshman relievers finished the game. Zack Engelken and Jake Meyers combined to throw 5.2 innings of shutout relief, with Engelken earning the win and Meyers picking up the save with 3.0 innings of two-hit relief with three strikeouts.
Nebraska struck early with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning. Schleppenbach scored on a single by Blake Headley and Ben Miller followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Boldt to put the Huskers ahead 2-0.
BYU cut the lead in half in the second when Colton Shaver led off with a solo home run on the first pitch he saw from Knutson. The sophomore lefty bounced back with a pair of strikeouts in the inning and kept the damage to one run.
The Huskers pushed their lead back to two runs in the third when Boldt led off the frame with a stand-up triple and scored on a single by Headley, his sixth RBI of the series.
After Engelken got out of a jam in the fifth when Boldt made a diving catch with two outs that erased an RBI single, the NU offense put another run on the board. Schleppenbach led off with his second hit of the day, stole second base and scored on a two-out single by Miller.
Engelken sat down the Cougars in order in the sixth and then the Husker offense went back to work and blew the game wide open in the bottom of the inning with five runs on four hits, including three doubles. Tanner Lubach got the inning started with a double off the left-field wall for his first hit of the season after starting the year 0-for-18. Austin Darby followed with his first RBI of the season on a single that pushed NU’s lead to 5-1. Steven Reveles got a two out rally started with a RBI double and then back-to-back walks loaded the bases, setting the stage for Miller to drop a three-RBI double.
The Huskers will be back in action next weekend when they travel to Los Angeles, Calif., for a three-game series against Loyola Marymount. The Huskers and Lions are scheduled to play at 8:05 p.m. (CT) on both Friday and Saturday night, while the finale on Sunday is scheduled for 2:05 p.m.