Huskers drowned by Arkansas bats amid Frisco downpour
A good-not-great showing at the plate for Nebraska and a virtual hitting clinic by Arkansas was the perfect storm in the Huskers’ second straight loss Saturday.
A day after holding Oklahoma State without an earned run, the Huskers gave up six runs in the first three innings at rainy Dr. Pepper Park in Frisco, Texas. Junior Jake Hohensee, who gave up just two hits against Utah last weekend, was torched in the first 2 1/3 innings of play against the Razorbacks. Nate Fisher walked in another in the bottom of the fourth and freshman Paul Tillotson gave up a grand slam in the fifth for the icing on the cake.
Nebraska head coach Darin Erstad talked about the pitching struggles in his post-game radio show on the Husker Sports Network.
“I lost count with probably 10 runs with two outs that we gave up,“ Erstad said. "We just didn't do a good job of finishing innings. We had a couple of 0-2 counts where we left a few pitches up, where if we just get that pitch down, we're probably out of the inning."
In a statistic that seems almost unfathomable, Nebraska would’ve won Friday’s game with a replica of the offensive output they mustered against Arkansas. Razorbacks starter Trevor Stephan went six full innings, but the Huskers had reason for optimism early on.
“I think we had seven free passes in the first four innings,“ Erstad said of the Huskers' opportunities with runners in scoring position. "We're obviously not taking care of our business on many fronts."
After being held without a run Friday, Nebraska got on the board early thanks to a Scott Schreiber sacrifice fly in the top of the first that brought in leadoff man Mojo Hagge. But the Huskers had the bases loaded with no outs and only nabbed one run in the first inning.
Nebraska added another run in the second, but had to deal with the bat of Razorbacks slugger Carson Shaddy, who had four RBIs in his first two at-bats. The junior gave the Razorbacks their second, third, fourth, and fifth runs of the ball game that led to an insurmountable lead.
Of the few positives in the game, first baseman Ben Miller had a few highlight reel plays on defense. Miller nabbed an unassisted double play in the third inning and converted a 3-6-3 double play in the fourth. On a night when Husker pitchers were struggling mightily, the web gems provided a temporary spark.
Nebraska now sits at 2-6 on the year after an 0-2 start at the Frisco Classic. The Huskers take on undefeated and red hot Arizona at noon Sunday. The Wildcats are coming off a walk-off win over Oklahoma State. Preseason All-American Jake Meyers will take the mound for the Huskers as they look to avoid their worst road start since 2013, when they went 0-7 against a similarly loaded schedule.
“We're not concerned about the opponent we're playing, we're concerned about how we're taking care of our business," Erstad said. "You've got to get to the very bare bones basics of trying to hit line drives up the middle ... You've got to keep grinding and keep going ... we've got another opportunity tomorrow to try and get it turned around."