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April 16, 2013

Kubat, bullpen no-hit Arkansas in game one victory

Nebraska vs. Arkansas game 1 box score

Arkansas might have come into the game with the nation's best ERA, but it was Nebraska's staff that stole the thunder in the opener of Tuesday's doubleheader.

Three Husker pitchers combined for a no-hitter, Nebraska's first since March 6, 1993, to beat the Razorbacks 3-0. It was the eighth no-hitter in school history and the fourth combined no-hitter.

It's also believed to be the first no-hitter ever thrown against Arkansas, though that is unofficial.

"We were a little antsy just trying to keep our composure," starter Kyle Kubat said. "I don't think anyone said we had a no-hitter, which is good. If they did, we'll find out and we'll probably beat him up or something. But it was a good team win. Good pitching, good hitting, good defense all around."

It seemed unlikely coming into the first game that Kubat would live up to the standard he set for himself in 2012. The sophomore, making his first start after missing the season's first 33 games with arm soreness, was facing No. 12 Arkansas and was saddled with a pitch limit.

But Kubat was even better than anticipated. The lefty pitched five innings without giving up a hit. He struck out three and allowed just two base runners (a walk and a hit batter). Kubat threw 60 pitches, which was what Darin Erstad set his limit at before the game.

Tyler Niederklein and Dylan Vogt backed him up with a pair of no-hit innings. The Huskers allowed just four base runners in the game.

"I noticed (the no-hitter) in the second inning," Kubat said. "I just kept throwing strikes, they kept swinging at them and before you know it, nine innings later we have a no-hitter."

The Razorbacks' pitching staff, one of the nation's best, lived up to its billing, limiting the Huskers to three runs on five hits. But thanks to the pitching effort, it was enough.

Chad Christensen doubled to right-center with two outs in the first inning to score Pat Kelly from first. The Huskers then used a walk, hit-by-pitch and bunt single to load the bases with no outs in the third. Christensen brought in a run with an infield single and Austin Darby plated another run with a fielder's choice.

But with Kubat and company dealing, the offense's effort was more than enough. Making the victory even sweeter, Kubat said he didn't feel any side effects from his first extended performance since last season. He said he felt just normal tiredness and hopes to pitch again this weekend against Purdue.

The second game of the doubleheader is set to begin at 6:35 pm. and will be televised on the Big Ten Network.

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