Playing in its first true road game of the season, the Nebraska baseball team (9-9, 0-0 Big Ten) held a 6-4 lead entering the bottom of the eighth inning, but the CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners (11-5, 0-0 WAC) scored four runs, all with two outs, on their way to an 8-6 comeback victory. While the Huskers scored three of their runs with two outs on the night, Bakersfield plated all eight of its runs with two outs.
The Huskers were 9-0 on the year when leading after seven innings, but couldn’t improve to 10-0 in that category. There were two outs in the bottom of the eighth and the bases were empty when the Roadrunners exploded for four runs on four hits and two walks. CSUB had seven players come to the plate during the two-out rally.
The loss overshadowed a solid night from the Nebraska offense that produced 13 hits, including multi-hit game from each of NU’s first four hitters. Jake Meyers and Scott Schreiber each had three-hit games.
CSUB’s lineup was even tougher though, as they totaled 16 hits, including multi-hit games from each of its first six hitters. Mahilk Jones led the way, going 3-for-3 with a game-high three RBIs.
After the Huskers stranded a pair of two-outs hits in the top of the first, including a double by Meyers, the Roadrunners got a two-out hit in bottom of the frame that plated two runs. Starter Matt Waldron gave up consecutive singles to the first two batters he faced, but then got two outs and was nearly out of the jam. Waldron was unable to escape unscathed though, as Ryan Grotjohn laced a two-RBI single back through the box. Waldron then hit Cole Valletta before he got an inning-ending fielder’s choice.
Waldron stranded a pair of runners in the bottom of the third and then the NU offense got him the lead with three runs on three hits and a CSUB error in the top of the fourth. The Huskers quickly had two on following a leadoff single by Schreiber and a walk to Ben Miller. Luis Alvarado got in a 1-2 hole before delivering a RBI single that got NU on the board. CSUB starter Garrett Nimmo then issued his second walk of the inning and the Huskers had the bases loaded for Jake Schleppenbach. The Lincoln native lifted the first pitch he saw into left field and it was just deep enough to score Miller from third, tying the game at 2-2. Nimmo nearly got out of the inning with a double play off the bat of Alex Raburn, but the Roadrunners couldn’t turn it and a throwing error not only scored Alvarado to give the Huskers’ their first lead of the night, but Raburn also moved to second. Mojo Hagge stepped in and notched NU’s third hit of the frame, but on the play Raburn was called out on a close play at the plate.
Working with a 3-2 lead, Waldron retired the Roadrunners in order in the bottom of the fourth after he had allowed at least one hit in each of the first three innings.
Waldron retired his fourth and fifth straight Roadrunners in the bottom of the fifth, but then ran into trouble. With two out and the bases empty Max Carter lifted a 2-2 offering over the left-field wall, tying the game at 3-3. Waldron then hit Grotjohn and Jones followed with a fly ball down the right-field line that dropped in front of a diving Hagge, resulting in a RBI triple. Waldron was able to strand Jones at third with a strikeout of Valletta.
The Huskers retook the lead in the top of the seventh with a pair of runs, both scoring with two outs. Angelo Altavilla led off with a single, but was cleared when he was caught stealing second. Meyers followed with a single and CSUB went to reliever Naithen Dewsnap, who was welcomed by a single from Schreiber, his third hit of the game. Dewsnap came back and struck out Miller for the second out of the inning. Alvarado stepped in and got behind 1-2 in the count, he then fouled off three pitches before lining a game-tying RBI single to right field. With runners on the corners Alvarado delay-stole second and when CSUB threw to second Schreiber scored to put the Huskers ahead, 5-4. Dewsnap was able to strand Alvarado at second with a fly out of the bat of Jesse Wilkening.
CSUB had two runners on in the bottom of the seventh, but Chad Luensmann extinguished the threat with an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. NU’s offense then added an insurance run in the eighth on a pair of two-out hits. Dewsnap retired the first two batters he faced before NU’s lineup rolled over. Hagge started a two-out rally with his third double of the season and then scored on a single by Altavilla, pushing the Husker lead to 6-4. Altavilla stole second to get in scoring position, but Dewsnap escaped the frame by striking out Meyers.
Luensmann quickly retired the first two batters in the bottom of eighth, but then the lineup rolled over and the Roadrunners put together a four-run two-out rally. CSUB got three straight singles, including a RBI single by David Metzgar. Carter then walked to load the bases and the Roadrunners tied the game without a hit or walk, as Luensmann was called for a balk. Grotjohn worked a walk to reload the bases and Jones delivered the big hit with a 2-RBI single on a 0-2 count. Nebraska went to Reece Eddins, who put an end to the bleeding with a strikeout. With two outs and no one on base the Roadrunners scored four runs on four hits, two walks and a balk.
Dewsnap retired the Huskers in order in the top of the ninth to complete the comeback.
The Huskers will be off tomorrow before opening a four-game series at Cal Poly on Thursday