Sometimes in a Baseball game, especially with so much on the line in the NCAA Tournament, it's about what you do when opportunity presents itself. If you take advantage of it enough, you'll do well. Miss, and you're on the losing end, facing the prospect of going home.
That's exactly how you can describe the game between Nebraska and Cal State Fullerton.
While Nebraska had the bases loaded in the 6th inning and couldn't capitalize, JD Davis took a 2-1 Josh Roeder Fastball and put it far over the left field wall in the bottom of the 7th. That ended up being the difference in the game as the Titans defeated the Huskers 5-1 in the first game of the 2014 NCAA Tournament Stillwater Regional.
The final score takes away the great pitching performance by Chance Sinclair, who didn't allow a hit until the 6th inning and had faced one batter over the minimum until then in a 4 strikeout, 2 hit, 1 walk performance.
Nebraska got hits off of CSF stud starter Thomas Eschelman, who gave up 7 hits in 6.1 innings. However, Big Red didn't get anything to show for it until the 6th inning when they finally opened up the scoring. Ryan Boldt came up and started the inning with a Triple to right field that hit so close to the top of the wall, 6 inches to the right would have been a HR. Austin Darby ground to second in the next at-bat, and with CSF playing back to surrender the run, Boldt came across to give Nebraska a 1-0 lead. Michael Pritchard and Pat Kelly got consecutive singles, but couldn't do anything with it.
Fullerton got the run right back in the top of the 7th, as Austin Christensen allowed a runner on a error and JD Davis got the base hit to end the no-hit bid by Sinclair. A David Olmedo-Barrera single scored Keegan Dale from second. However, a 5-3 Double Play prevented any more damage to the inning, and both teams were tied at 1 heading into the stretch.
Nebraska was ready to pounce on the Titans after consecutive bunts by Christian Cox and Christensen got the Huskers 1 on with 1 out. After a Steven Reveles single and walk to Boldt, Nebraska was ready to break the game wide open. However, an Austin Darby foul out and Pritchard fly out to CF kept Nebraska off the scoreboard.
Fullerton, however, took advantage of their situation in the top of the 8th. After the first 2 outs of the inning was recorded by Zack Hirsch, Timmy Richards, Clay Williamson and Dale all got on base.The Huskers brought in top knotch reliever Josh Roeder, but JD Davis wasn't impressed. He took a 2-1 Roeder fastball and sent it way, way over Pritchard and the LF wall for a Grand Slam to give the Titans that 5-1 lead that they would never relinquish on the afternoon.
JD Davis came in and worked a hitless 9th inning for the save.
Biggest issue today? Well, the Huskers left 9 on base, and didn't get a hit in 7 at-bats with runners in scoring position. The Roeder GS, however, was probably the biggest surprise of the day.
210 batters...51 IP....42 appearances with no HR allowed for Roeder. What a terribly unlucky inning! #Huskers— Greg Ortiz (@GregWOWT) May 30, 2014
Nebraska will now take on the loser of Binghamton/Oklahoma State's contest this evening at Noon tomorrow afternoon, with the loser of that game 2 and BBQ back home.
It was at least a nice day in central Oklahoma.
Almost game time pic.twitter.com/YIWXUiFaL8— Nebraska Baseball (@Husker_Baseball) May 30, 2014