Huskers unable to stop WCU's offensive explosion, fall 8-2
The Nebraska (5-8) baseball team scored first in the second inning on a fielding error, but ultimately couldn’t convert chances with runners on base in an 8-2 loss to Western Carolina (7-7) on Saturday afternoon.
It’s been the same story this weekend for NU, sub-freezing temperatures, cold bats and missed opportunities.
Nebraska struck first in the second inning on a fielding error that allowed sophomore Angelo Altavilla to score. The Huskers were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and only scored one earned run in the fourth inning on a Luis Alvarado double to right center that brought in Altavilla.
Offense continues to be a struggle for NU. They recorded just six hits and only had 13 batters at the plate during the final four innings of the game.
“We are not swinging the bat well enough to be able to overcome some of our mistakes,” head coach Darin Erstad said. “Right now, we are having too many of them.”
Junior pitcher Derek Burkamper pitched four innings, recorded three strikeouts and gave up three earned runs on Saturday. He now falls to 0-2 on the year with a 5.40 ERA. Erstad says a two-out walk by Burkamper is one of the reasons they lost control of the game.
“We get a lead and Derek looks like he’s going to shut down that next inning and then he gives up a two-out walk,” Erstad said. “Next thing you know, they score. I think not finishing that inning cost us.”
Meanwhile, WCU sophomore pitcher Tristan Baker picked up his first win of the year, striking out six batters on 109 pitches.
Although Erstad was critical of the Husker offense and pitching, he was not disappointed with their play in the field.
“Defensively, I thought we played fantastic today,” said Erstad. “I thought that was a good sign. When you see that you know that means the effort is there. They were locked in and ready to play. We are just struggling to be able to score runs.”
Altavilla was 1-for-3 at the plate today for a single and was also walked once. He was responsible for scoring both Husker runs.
“We just need to come back and put everything together,” Altavilla said. “Coach Erstad always says we need to salvage out a win and we are going to do everything that it takes.”
The two teams will meet again for game on three on Sunday, with first pitch scheduled for 1:35 p.m.
Junior Jake Meyers (1-1, 4.32 ERA) will take the mound against junior LHP Brenden Nail (1-2,12.06 ERA), as the NU will try to salvage the series.
The Huskers are 2-0 on Sundays this year with wins against Arizona and Utah. As always, stay tuned in to HuskerOnline.com on Facebook and Twitter for any schedule updates.