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May 8, 2012

NU misses season sweep with 8-1 loss

Nebraska vs. Creighton game 3 box score

Michael Pritchard turned in a career performance Tuesday night, collecting four hits and knocking in a run.

Unfortunately, the rest of the lineup combined couldn't match his production and the NU pitchers weren't much better as NU missed a chance to sweep the season series against Creighton and fell 8-1.

It was the Huskers' third-straight loss, dropping them to 29-19 on the year.

"They're pressing across the board," coach Darin Erstad said. "They're trying so hard. We just need to take a deep breath and regroup. During the season, you're going to have a period where you play awful baseball. Hopefully it's a short-term, couple-of-weeks thing."

NU starter Tom Lemke looked strong out of the gate, retiring the first two hitters he faced. But he then gave up five straight two-out hits, and the first inning ended with Creighton holding a 3-0 lead.

The Huskers responded with three consecutive two-out hits of their own in the third inning, the final one an RBI single by Pritchard.

Tyler King and Ryan Hander kept the scoreboard gridlocked for the next four innings, leaving their offense ample time to dent CU's lead. Nebraska's best chance came in the sixth inning, when the Huskers loaded the bases with one out.

But Josh Scheffert struck out and Rich Sanguinetti hit a tapper to second to end the threat. NU stranded eight runners in the game.

The Huskers would have just three hits the rest of the way.

"Other than Pritchard, we swung the bat horribly," Erstad said. "I didn't think I really liked our approach too much."

The CU offense was finally able to break through and extend its lead late in the game, scoring two runs off of Aaron Bummer and three off of Tyler Niederklein in the seventh and eighth innings, respectively.

Overall, the Huskers gave up 16 hits to a Creighton team that is collectively batting just .229 on the year.

After the game, Erstad tried to write off NU's current slump as a stumble every baseball team inevitably encounters throughout the season. He was disappointed in the final outcome, but more worried that his players might be pressing and trying too hard to end their struggles.

"We got beat in every physical part of the game we could possibly get beat in," Erstad said. "Let's hope we got that out of our system now and we don't play like that this weekend."

Around the horn

***Pritchard extended his hitting streak to 25 games with an infield single in the first inning.

***Even with the loss, the Huskers still hold a comfortable lead in the all-time series lead. In 122 games, NU holds a 72-48-2 edge.

***Creighton's first six hits came with two outs.

***CU's 16 hits are a record for one team at TD Ameritrade Park.

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