Nebraska has won an NCAA regional opening game for the first time since 2008. Nebraska was able to navigate 19 Connecticut hits and pounded out 13 of their own in a 8-5 victory for the Huskers over the Huskies.
Nate Fisher got the start for the Huskers. Fisher who pitched a gem last week against Iowa was in and out of trouble for his entire start today. He allowed a two run home run from Pat Winkel to put the Huskies up 2-0 in the first inning.
Angelo Altavilla answered right back in the second inning for the Huskers. Working against Huskies preseason All-American Mason Feole, Altavilla hit a 2-1 fastball just over the wall in left field for a solo home run.
Fisher allowed three more hits in the second inning. The Huskies scored twice, including on a two out single from John Toppa to extend the lead to 4-1.
Working against the lefty Feole, Nebraska broke through in the third. The first six Huskers would reach to tie the game. Colby Gomes and Jaxon Hallmark started the rally with a pair of singles. Cam Chick singled to score Gomes to cut the lead to two. After Aaron Palensky walked, singles from both Spencer Schwellenbach and Altavila tied the game. Gunner Hellstrom grounded into a double play, but it was good enough for another run. Joe Acker was unable to get Schwellenbach home from third as he was a Feole strikeout victim.
UConn was kept off the scoreboard in both the third and the fourth. Winkel grounded into a double play in the third, while David Langer lined into one in the fourth to help Fisher.
The Huskers and Huskies traded runs in the fifth inning. The Huskers got a run from Schwellenbach who singled and scored on a two out single from Hellstrom. Michael Woodworth scored after Winkel and Christian Fedko both singled to force him home.
With two outs in the fourth inning, Nebraska was first to the bullpen. With both Winkel and Fedko on base, Robbie Palkert would come into the game. Palkert was able to keep the Huskies from tying the game with a groundout.
Mojo Hagge was able to come through in the sixth with another run for the Huskers. He walked, went to second on a wild pitch, and then stole third with no one out. Gomes and Hallmark were unable to get the ball past a drawn in infield. After Chick was hit, Palensky did the job and smacked a single to left to give the Huskers a 7-5 lead.
Palkert worked around a pair of singles in the sixth and seventh to post zeros. He also worked around a one out double in the eighth to get the game to the ninth inning with the Huskers in the lead.
Acker would deliver insurance in the Huskers ninth inning. Schwellenbach and Hellstrom both had singles that brough up Acker with one out. Joe was able to drive a pitch down the left field line that scored Schwellenbach for a 8-5 lead. Hagge and Gomes stranded Hellstrom at third.
Gomes came in and immediately allowed a single to Winkel. He got Fedko to ground into a rally killing double play. Paul Gozzo flied out to left to secure the Huskers first first round victory for Darin Erstad.
The Huskers found a way to win with allowing a bunch of hits and facing a tough lefty. Nebraska now sits pretty with Matt Waldron ready to pitch tomorrow after having Nate Fisher throw today.
Nebraska awaits the winner of the Oklahoma State and Harvard game that will be played tonight. Harvard is a dangerous four seed that the Huskers would not mind seeing over the host Cowboys.