Nebraska opened up the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge by dropping a pair of games to the Oregon State Beavers. Nebraska fell in game one by a score of 8-2, while the Huskers dropped game two by a final of 5-3.
In game one, Nebraska gave Chad Luensmann the start as he was opposed by All-American Kevin Abel of the Beavers. Abel and Luensmann traded scoreless innings for the first three innings of the game.
Oregon State struck first in the fourth inning when they got a double to start the inning and then a single with two outs.
The Beavers opened up a 5-0 lead in the fifth inning. Luensmann finished after allowing his second run of the game before Connor Curry came in with a runner on. Curry walked the first batter he faced before giving up a three run home run to Adley Rutschman over the left field berm.
The Huskers rallied and close the gap in the sixth. Spencer Schwellenbach singled with one down to bring up Angelo Altavilla. Altavilla doubled in the gap in left center to plate Schwellenbach from first. Altavilla then scored when Aaron Palensky singled into left field. Nebraska had an opportunity with the bases loaded after Luke Roskam was hit by a pitch, but Jaxon Hallmark and Cam Chick were unable to pull the Huskers any closer.
After Ben Klenke set down the Beavers in the home half of the sixth, Nebraska again had a chance to pull closer when they loaded the bases for the second straight inning. Schwellenbach and Altavilla both had base hits while Mojo Hagge walked to bring up Palensky. A pop fly to the second baseman ended the Husker threat.
Klenke would work both the seventh and eighth innings for the Huskers, giving up three more runs. Klenke hit a pair of batters in the seventh, walked one, and threw a bunt down the right field line to give the Beavers a 7-2 lead. Oregon State tacked on one more in the ninth.
The Huskers couldn’t get anyone on base in the eighth or ninth against the Beaver bullpen. Luensmann took the loss, while Abel got his first win of the year. Nebraska struck out 17 times in the game one loss.
In game two, Kyle Perry took the ball for the Huskers while Bryce Fehmel got the ball for Oregon State.
Nebraska looked to jump all over Fehmel early, as they loaded the bases with no outs. Schwellenbach, Altavilla, and Hagge all singled to start the first frame. Fehmel came back and got the Palensky, Roskam, and Gunner Hellstrom to all look at called third strikes to end the Husker threat.
Perry gave up a walk, a hit batter, and a single in the first, but held the Beavers off the board with a little help from Hellstrom who picked off Alex McGarry.
After a scoreless top half of the inning, the Huskers fell behind once again. Perry game up a home run and then lost his control. He surrendered two walks, and threw a ball away to load the bases. McGarry then got a single to plate two more runs. The Huskers brought in Shay Schanaman who got Rutschman to pop up to end the threat.
Nebraska responded with a three run third to tie the game. Schwellenbach singled to start the inning before Hagge followed with a one out hit of his own. Palensky singled to bring the Huskers within 2. Hellstrom then followed with a two out, two run double to tie the game.
Nebraska would bring in Mike Waldron out of the bullpen to start the third inning, and he would shut down the Beavers. Waldron set down 14 straight Beavers at one point, giving the Husker bullpen a much needed break.
Nebraska had their chances to take the lead. In the fifth, Palensky reached second base on an error, but Roskam struck out swinging. In the seventh, Schwellenbach reached with the game still tied, but the Beavers turned a double play.
Oregon State broke the tie in the eighth when Rutschman hit his second home run of the day. The Beavers were able to tack on an insurance run against Robbie Palkert. Palkert was able to retire the side, but not before the Beavers had retaken the lead.
Oregon State turned to close Jake Mulholland in the ninth. Nebraska got a one out single from pinch hitter Carter Cross. Keegan Watson and Cam Chick were unable to extend the rally as Mulholland picked up his first save of the year.
Oregon State and Nebraska continue the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge with their third contest of the weekend tomorrow night in Surprise. Nate Fisher will get the ball for the Huskers while Sam Tweedt goes for the Beavers.