The Nebraska Cornhuskers held their own with the #7 LSU Tigers on Sunday afternoon for the final game for both teams in the Houston College Classic at Minute Maid Park. However, the Tigers did the little things the Huskers didn't. In the end, Nebraska was defeated by the Bayou Bengals by a 4-2 score.
The Huskers (7-6) had great pitching throughout all of their three games in the Classic, but only will take one win back to Lincoln this evening. The Tigers (14-2) on the other hand, showed how they are one of the favorites to make it to Omaha for the College World Series.
The Huskers got on the board in the top of the 1st inning when Luis Alvarado singled with one out. Three batters later, after a Ryan Boldt pop-up and a Blake Headley walk, Ben Miller singled to Centerfield to score Alvarado. Miller, however, took a very large turn around 1st base and was gunned down on a heads up play by Alex Bregman.
LSU got on the board in the bottom half of the 1st inning. Jake Fraley started the game with a single to CF off Nebraska starter Derek Burkamper. Two batters later, Bregman singled and advanced Fraley to third. Chris Chinea singled back through CF to score Fraley. The next batter, Conner Hale, doubled to left to plate Bregman. But, after a groundout and walk, 1B Danny Zardon popped out to end the inning with LSU leading 2-1.
The Tigers scored again in the 3rd inning. Bregman lined a shot to LF for a single, then promptly stole 2nd Base. Two batters later, Hale grounded to Nebraska 3B Headley, but Blake went to first and gave up the run to make it 3-1 LSU after three innings.
We stayed scoreless till the 7th inning, where Nebraska had a golden chance to get to Tigers SP Jake Godfrey. Blake Headley started the inning with a single, but was taken out by a Fielders Choice by Ben Miller, who was Pinch Ran for by Jake Placzek. After a Tanner Lubach single and Austin Darby walk, Austin Christensen blooped one to CF where no one was, scoring Placzek. However, that's the only damage the Huskers could do in that inning as Steven Reveles hit into a 6-4-3 Double Play, ending the inning and the outing for Godfrey. The score then was 3-2, LSU leading.
The Tigers added a insurance run in the bottom of the 8th inning. Andrew Stevenson singled up the middle, and after a sacrifice and stealing third, scored when Jake Schleppenbach & Reveles couldn't turn a DP. The score became 4-2 Tigers.
The Huskers got a runner on in the 9th inning with a Austin Darby single with 2 outs. However, Austin Christensen's ducksnort was this time caught by Bregman, ending the game for the Tigers victory.
After the game, Nebraska HC Darin Erstad discussed that, even though Godfrey was spotting pitches well, the Nebraska hitters kept with their gameplan and gave the team a chance to win. However, he took the heat for the mistakes on the bases, "that's on me to fix that". However, Erstad is more than excited to get home to Lincoln to get the bats and consistency back to the Nebraska Offense.
Pitching and Defense was the big takeaways from the weekend, as the Huskers kept themselves in two games vs. ranked teams in neutral sites.
Derek Burkamper takes the loss for the Huskers, going 6 innings and giving up 3 earned runs on 6 hits with 2 walks and 3 strikeouts.
Jake Godfrey gets the win for the Tigers, going 7 innings and allowing 8 hits and 2 earned runs with 2 walks and 4 strikeouts. Parker Bugg gets the save for LSU, his first game of the year.
The Huskers now fly home to Lincoln, where they will play their next 16 games in the friendly confines of Hawks Field at Haymarket Park. They start the homestand with 2 against Northern Colorado on Tuesday and Wednesday, then Florida Gulf Coast hits town for the weekend. LSU heads back to Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge to take on McNeese State on Wednesday before kicking off SEC play vs. Ole Miss at home.