The Huskers had not lost a game this season when they led in the ninth inning. That all changed Saturday night in Oklahoma City as the Oklahoma State Cowboys rallied from a 5-0 deficit to shock the Huskers 6-5.
In the first inning, Matt Waldron gave up back to back hits against a Cowboy offense that struggled Friday night. After a strikeout and an error loaded the bases, Waldron responded. He struck out Trevor Boone before getting Carson McCusker to fly out to Palensky in right to strand the bases loaded.
Working against Cowboy lefty Parker Scott, Nebraska found success right away. Jaxon Hallmark and Cam Chick started the inning with singles. Palensky then got a 0-1 breaking ball that he deposited behind the party deck in left field.
Nebraska continued to pressure the Cowboys in the first. Scott hit Spencer Schwellenbach after Palensky had his home run. Angelo Altavilla followed with a single. The Huskers executed a double steal with one out but neither Joe Acker or Mojo Hagge could get any more runs across.
The Cowboys and Huskers each stranded a pair of runners in the second. Christian Funk took strike three to end the Cowboy threat while Schwellenbach struck out on a high fastball to strand Hallmark and Chick in scoring position.
After Waldron struck out the side in the third inning, Nebraska added a pair in the third.
Altavilla started the inning with a nine pitch walk. Gunner Hellstrom grounded a ball to third that was ruled in an infield single. A one out wild pitch moved both runners up before Hagge grounded it back to relieve Jake Lyons for the second out. Colby Gomes delivered a two out base hit up the middle to give the Huskers a 5-0 lead.
The Huskers kept a 5-0 lead through the middle innings with Waldron racking up strikeouts and the Husker defense playing spectacular. Altavilla made a diving catch into the stands to get a foul ball for the second out of the fifth inning. Acker dove in center to catch the last out, preventing State from getting on the board.
Nebraska could not do anything against Lyons the rest of the night. Lyons retired 13 straight for the Cowboys and saved their bullpen for tomorrow’s possible doubleheader.
Oklahoma State scored their first run of the night in the sixth. Waldron gave up a home run on an elevated pitch to McCusker. A strikeout and a flyball would get the Huskers out of the inning without any more damage.
After blowing past 100 pitches in a 1-2-3 seventh inning, Ted Silva decided to send Waldron back out for the eighth. He got the first two batters before the next three reached. Boone and McCusker both had solid singles. Bryce Carter would double to the gap in right center to score Boone and end the night of Waldron.
In came Shay Schanaman from the bullpen. Schanaman threw Alix Garcia a steady dose of his curveball before he got him to swing at one in the dirt to strand the tying run at the plate.
The Huskers got a one out single from Hellstrom in the eighth, but could not bring around any more insurance.
Gomes came in looking for his 14th save of the season. He got a grounder to Hallmark at second for the first out. He walked Max Hewitt before Funk got a single. After a fly ball to Acker, a single from Andrew Navigato pulled the Pokes to with 2. Then Boone happened. A three run shot gave the Pokes their first lead of the night.
Nebraska was unable to do anything in the bottom of the ninth.
The Huskers are now sent to an elimination game tomorrow afternoon against UConn. UConn defeated Harvard 10-2 to get into this game. The winner of tomorrows elimination game will face Oklahoma State in the Regional Championship game.
Nebraska would have to beat Oklahoma State twice after defeating UConn tomorrow afternoon to advance to the Super Regionals. Oklahoma State would need only one win to advance.