Huskers Avoid Another Comeback Loss to Hawkeyes

On a cold and rainy Nebraska evening, the Huskers pulled out a win against their cross-Missouri River rivals, successfully avenging a March 4th loss. There were about 350 fans there, from my estimate, though official attendance was 800.

The Huskers fell behind early, though spot starter Dan Jennings (pictured on the left) was effective over his four innings of work. He gave up five hits and one earned run with four strikeouts and no walks, left with the lead, and eventually was credited with his first career win.

Jeff Tezak and Jake Opitz each had two hits and two RBI to give the Huskers an early 7-3 lead, a cushion they'd need later. Tezak hit his third homer of the year to left field, where the sole fan braving the weather retrieved it from the berm.

The Huskers entered the ninth inning with a four run lead, and handed the ball to their de facto closer, Steve Edlefsen. Apparently Edlefsen didn't handle the inclement weather well, as he walked three, threw two wild pitches and allowed two runs. Bases loaded, and... enter Matt Foust. Foust leads the team in walks allowed, and after getting one out, walked in one more run. He managed to get the last out on a foul ball for his second save of the season, but not before creating substantially more tension than needed.

This brings me to a problem with the traditionally reliable Nebraska bullpen. In 113 innings of work, they've allowed 79 walks. That's almost seven per nine innings of work, a rate that's far too high for a starter, let alone a relief specialist.

If the Huskers are going to even pretend to compete in the Big 12, they need to have a reliable bullpen. One that puts that many runners on for free isn't going to cut it.

Hopefully the Huskers didn't burn up the pen by using six relievers in the cold on Tuesday night. They take on Wichita State on Wednesday, and then travel to Oklahoma this weekend.

Speaking of the Shockers and travelling, I'll be heading down to Wichita on Wednesday to take in the game. Assuming I can find a coffee shop with free WiFi, and I think I did, I'll have a recap and some photos up after the game. I'm sure corn blight will have a game thread up, and if you're lurking, come on out and leave your $.02 in the pot.

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