After losing its first seven games of the season, Nebraska seems to have finally found its footing. The Huskers beat Northern Colorado 10-2 in the first game of Wednesday's double header to win its third straight game and improve its record to 3-7 on the season.
The Bears actually got on the board first, plating a run on an RBI single by Nick Miller. But Nebraska struck back quickly, as Austin Darby smacked a solo home run to right in the bottom of the frame. Chad Christensen tripled and came in to score on an RBI groundout by Josh Scheffert, giving the Huskers a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Nebraska added two more runs in the second inning on RBI hits by Corey Stringer and Wes Edrington, who was making his first career appearance. The Huskers posted three more runs in the third and another in the fourth to open a 8-1 advantage.
That was all Aaron Bummer and Zach Hirsch would need. Bummer was a bit erratic in his first start, giving up three hits and hitting a batter in three innings. But when he found his spots, he was nearly unhittable, setting a career high with five strikeouts.
Hirsch relieved Bummer and kept up the sophomore's pace. Hirsch did run into a little trouble in the fifth, giving up a run on three hits. But his other innings were of the 1-2-3 variety. He finished with six strikeouts.
Nebraska scored two more runs in the seventh, seemingly putting the game on ice. But after an effective eighth inning by Tyler King, Tyler Niederklein struggled mightily in the ninth. He gave up three hits and a pair of walks as Northern Colorado scored three times. Niederklein finally induced a fly out to center to end the game.
After the hitters showed off their prowess in game one, the pitchers dominated game two. Six Nebraska pitchers combined to pitch a one-hitter. Freshman Jeff Chesnut, making his first career start, gave up a leadoff single to start the game and walked the next hitter, appearing to send signals that it could be a rocky day. But he rebounded well, only allowing one run. From there, NU's pitching dominated.
Chesnut pitched four innings before giving way to Luke Bublitz, Michael Hoppes, Caleb Hawkins, Josh Roeder and Dylan Vogt, each of whom pitched one inning. After piling up 10 strikeouts in the first game, NU's hurlers struck out ten Bears in game two.
The hitting wasn't as explosive as in the opener, but the bats did their part. They got some help in the fourth when Taylor Fish hit what appeared to be an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded, but the shortstop bobbled the ball. Darby came through with a two-RBI single two batters later to capitalize on the miscue.
Nebraska scored two more times in the fifth on infield singles by Pat Kelly and Kash Kalkowski.
The Huskers will travel to play a three-game series at Louisiana Tech this weekend. The first game is Friday at 6 p.m.
Around the horn
***When Nebraska scored in the opening three frames, it was the first time this year NU has scored in three straight innings.