Nebraska baseball drops series to BYU, losing three games by one run
Husker baseball (13-21) fell 4-3 to BYU after having a chance to tie the game in the eighth and ninth innings with runners in scoring position.
Left-handed pitcher Jackson Brockett started his first career game for the Huskers and faced six batters in the first two innings, helping to retire them all.
In the first inning, shortstop Brock Watkins, the second batter, hit a single but center-fielder Mitch McIntyre hit the ball right to Max Anderson at third base who turned it into a double play.
In the bottom of the first, center-fielder Cam Chick crushed a leadoff homer out of the ballpark sending it into the right-field parking lot.
First-baseman Jack Steil hit Nebraska's second leadoff home run of the game in the third inning, sending it to the right-field bullpen to give Nebraska 2-0 lead.
Then, Chick was walked but was catch stealing second. Starting pitcher Janzen Keisel struck out right-fielder Garrett Anglim then walked Anderson. Right-handed pitcher Jake Porter came in for Keisel, who threw 2.2 innings with three hits and two runs.
Catcher Griffin Everitt reached on a fielder's choice but Anderson was called out at second base for the final out of the third inning.
Nebraska had a shot to length their led in the fifth after Brockett and the defense retired four straight batters.
Chick and Anglim hit back-to-back singles and Anderson reached first on a fielder's choice to throw out Chick at third. However, Everitt was hit by a pitch to loaded the bases. But, designated hitter Nick Wimmers hit a ball right at the second baseman who turned it into a double play.
BYU tied it up in the top of the sixth when Watkins hit a two-RBI home run to right center field. After McIntyre cracked a single up the middle, Brockett was pulled and right-handed pitcher Corbin Hawkins took the mound for back-to-back outs to end the inning
Brockett pitched 5.1 innings in his first career start for the Huskers. He struck out two batters and allowed four hits and two runs, both runs and two hits came in his final inning.
With left-fielder Leighton Banjoff on first after being hit by a pitch in the bottom of the sixth, shortstop Efry Cervantes laid down a beautiful bunt as it dropped roughly six inches from the batter’s box. Cervantes reached first on the catcher’s choice to throw to second but Banjoff was called safe.
Second-baseman Core Jackson’s sacrifice bunted to advance Banjoff and Cervantes and Steil’s bunt helped Banjoff steal home and give Nebraska a 3-2 lead.
BYU took back the led in the top of the seventh, second-baseman Ozzie Pratt singled up the middle with runners on third and second for two RBIs to go up 4-3.
Left-handed pitcher Tyler Martin took control with one out in the inning after catcher Mason Strong hit a single off of Hawkins. Martin struck out left-fielder Dawsen Hall, allowed the two-RBI single by Pratt and then struck out Watkins to end the inning.
The Huskers were retired 1-2-3 in the bottom of the seventh and BYU went back to work. After McIntyre was called out at first on a bang-bang play, right-fielder Ryan Sepede and third-baseman Austin Deming hit back-to-back singles.
Pinch-hitter Max Harper reached on fielder’s choice by the pitcher but Martin overthrew the second baseman for Deming to advance on an error. Rogers also reached on a fielder’s choice by Martin but Sepede was called out as home as Martin flipped to Everitt.
Martin dialed in a struck out Strong for the final out of the inning, leaving two runners on base.
In the bottom of the eighth, Nebraska got a tying run on third base after Banjoff hit a double down the left-field side and advanced to third on a wild pitch by right-handed pitcher Ayden Callahan. But, Jackson was called out on a fly ball to left-field.
Martin pitched the final 2.2 innings and helped strikeout BYU's three final batters in the top of the ninth to give the Huskers one more shot.
With one out, Chick hit a single to left-center field and then stole second but Anglim and Anderson were stand down consecutively to end the game and Nebraska's hopes of tying up the series.
One run away
All four of Nebraska's games against BYU were decided by one score. The Huskers stuck it out and won the first 1-0 on Thursday but lost both games by 3-2 and 7-6 on Friday.
Like in the second game on Friday, the Huskers had runners in scoring position in the eighth and ninth innings but couldn't get them home.
On the season, Nebraska is batting .244 with runners in scoring position.
After the game, Husker head coach Will Bolt said that he is starting to sound like a broken record after many close Husker losses with the same theme of falling short.
Center-fielder Cam Chick said after the game that he thought Nebraska was beating themselves at this point.
The Huskers committed two throwing errors. One was by Everitt when he overthrew Steil at first to allow a batter to take first after striking out swinging in the seventh. The other error was in the top of the eighth when Martin overthrew the second baseman to get a Cougar runner into scoring position.
Bolt said he thought Brockett and Martin both gave Nebraska a shot to win but the offense couldn't get it done, even with the tying run 90 feet away.
Nebraska welcomes North Dakota State to Hawks Field on Wednesday for a 6:35 p.m. first pitch. The game can be watched on B1G+ and heard on the Huskers Radio Network.