Husker scoring offense freezes late in 5-2 loss
LINCOLN, Neb. - The pair of errors built the deficit, but an inept scoring offense once again wrote Nebraska’s book in a 5-2 loss to Western Carolina Friday.
After scoring just six total runs last weekend, sub-freezing temperatures caused the Husker bats to go cold again, scoring just one earned run in the game on a wild pitch in the second inning. The team racked up nine hits on the game as well, but only was able to notch a single RBI - when Angelo Altavilla drove in Scott Schreiber on a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning.
Other than that, Nebraska couldn’t get hits when it counted against Western Carolina lefty Bryan Sammons, who threw 118 pitches on the day. While it’s extremely rare for a college pitcher to go over 100 pitches in an outing, Nebraska head coach Darin Erstad said it was not unexpected.
“He’s a senior, the guy’s been here before, and that’s what you’ve got to have when you’re coming out on somebody’s home field,” Erstad said after the game. “It was less than ideal conditions and we got out-competed.”
Nebraska started off the scoring in the second inning after Schreiber doubled to left field and junior All-American Jake Meyers beat out the throw to first after a well-placed bunt down the third base line. Two batters later, Schreiber trotted in on a wild pitch that left Mike Waldron in scoring position, but Jesse Wilkening and Brison Cronenbold struck out to end the threat.
Western Carolina responded quickly in the third inning thanks to a flurry of Nebraska errors with no outs. First baseman Ben Miller couldn’t quite connect with a running Jake Hohensee on the first out, which led to leadoff man Brett Pope landing safely on second. Two batters later, a sharply hit grounder snuck underneath Altavilla’s glove, scoring Pope. A single to right field and a sacrifice fly brought in two more unearned runs for the Catamounts, giving them a lead they would never relinquish.
“We’re one giant family. We’re all going to make errors,” said Hohensee, the starter, after allowing just three hits and no earned runs over six innings. “We’re all in this together, so we’ve just got to have each other’s backs.”
Despite the solid performance on the mound, Hohensee took the loss to fall to 0-2 on the year. 8 of the 12 runs he’s given up this season have been unearned. Meanwhile, Sammons picked up the win after striking out eight, giving him 28 K's on the year.
With the Lincoln’s weather forecast volatile for the rest of the weekend, Saturday’s game could possibly be postponed, which would likely result in a double-header on Sunday.
“Baseball throws everything at you,” Erstad said. “Our guys are used to this, it’s just part of the deal. But we’re going to be ready to play tomorrow.”
First pitch for Saturday is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. with senior Derek Burkamper taking the mound. As always, stay tuned in to HuskerOnline.com on Facebook and Twitter for any schedule updates.