The season got off to a rocky start for the Huskers in Huntsville, Texas. It was a disjointed game from start to finish. Both teams finished with 9 hits, while Husker hitters struck out 15 times, and the pitchers allowed 11 baserunners on walks or HBP.
New Friday night starters Kyle Perry for Nebraska and Matt Dillon for Sam Houston struggled in the 2nd inning. Dillon gave up 3 runs on 3 hits in the top of the inning, with the big play being an overthrow at first on a ground ball off the bat of Core Jackson that led to Griffin Everitt and Colby Gomes scoring. SHSU answered right back with three RBI singles following 3 free passes to lead off the inning, to take the lead 5-3.
Dillon, Nebraska reliever Koty Frank, and both defenses, (see below) really settled in and put the batters on their heels for a few innings. Both teams were able to get baserunners and threaten on occasion, but both pitchers responded by slamming the door. It wasn’t until SHSU pulled Dillon following a 5 inning 94 pitch outing, that Nebraska was able to break through.
It was in the 6th inning, Colby Gomes drilled the first pitch he saw to right field for a double, one of his 3 hits on the night, and Freshman DH Josh Caron followed it up with a HBP. Luke Sartori came through with his 2nd hit of the day, this one with an RBI, trimming the lead to 5-4.
The Huskers followed it up in the 7th with a Max Anderson triple, one of three hits for him as well. He was brought home on a Brice Matthews ground ball that ended up working as a sacrifice bunt, to tie the game at 5-5.
Koty Frank was pulled at stretch time, after 4.2 innings of shutout ball, striking out 6 Bearcats. SHSU took immediate advantage, reaching on a throwing error by Husker third baseman Max Anderson, and following that up with a HBP, and a bunt single, before an RBI single and 2 RBI double brought the game to what would be the final score of 8-5.
Head Coach Will Bolt was frustrated post game with not only the amount of free passes given up by the pitching staff and strikeouts by Husker hitters, but the fact that the hitters took so many good pitches, especially in crucial at bats with runners in scoring position. He stated, “You get yourself in a hole, and I thought we maybe got a little anxious as the at bats went along.”
The Huskers look to rebound and will be back at it again Saturday with a double header. The first game will be 7 innings and start at 2pm, with Shay Schanaman taking the mound for Nebraska vs Colton Atkinson for SHSU. Game 2 of the double header is scheduled for 5:30pm, or 30 minutes after the first game ends, with a pitching matchup of Nebraska’s Dawson McCarville while SHSU has yet to name a starter.