Nebraska came out and fell flat Friday afternoon, dropping their NCAA Tournament opener to the Yale Bulldogs by a score of 5-1. Jake Meyers was shaky, giving up five runs, while Bulldog pitcher Scott Politz shut down the Husker offense.
Nebraska fell behind early when the first four Bulldog batters reached. Tim DeGraw, Simon Whiteman, and Richard Slenker all singled to load the bases. Benny Wagner struck out to bring Meyers within a double play of ending the inning but Griffin Dey singled on a 2-2 pitch back up the middle to plate a pair. Meyers got of the inning without any more damage.
Politz allowed his only run of the day when the Huskers scratched a run across. Meyers singled to start the inning, stole second, and scored when Luis Alvarado singled with two outs through the left side. Jake Schleppenbach flied out to center to leave Ben Miller on second as the tying run.
Andrew Herrera led off the second inning for Yale with an absolute bomb off to left for a solo home run to get the run right back for Yale.
Nebraska put a threat up when a pair reached with two outs in the third. Miller walked for the second time on the day and Alvarado singled to bring up Schleppenbach who grounded out.
Yale added a tally in the fourth when Harrison White crossed the plate via a single, sacrifice bunt, and a two out hit from DeGraw.
Again, the Bulldogs added a two out tally in the sixth. A one out double from Derek Brown put a runner in scoring position for Yale. After a ground out moved Brown to third. Robbie Palkert would relieve Meyers and got a ground ball off the bat Dai Dai Otaka, which hit Palkert and landed between Angelo Altavilla and Luke Roskam to score Brown.
After going down 5-1, Nebraska put two runners on in the sixth but could not score. A two out hit from Schleppenbach was all the Huskers could manage in the eighth.
Nebraska now falls into the elimination bracket, where they will face the loser of Oregon State and Holy Cross. The Huskers are very likely to see Holy Cross, and then Yale again. The good news is that the Huskers are better than both Holy Cross and Yale pitching wise. The bad news is they would still have to face Oregon State and beat them twice.
Nebraska needs to refine their approach. The trio of Altavilla, Schreiber, and Miller went a whopping 0-10 today with two walks. Schreiber swung at three first pitches and has shown exceptionally poor plate discipline. With a number of hitters pulling off on the baseball, Nebraska struggled to elevate and continued to roll over fastballs.
The Huskers did the same thing last week at the Big Ten Tournament and were promptly eliminated. If Nebraska wants a chance to at least make some noise, someone on the offense will need to wake up and soon. If not, it could be a long offseason in Lincoln.