Things were looking good for the Nebraska baseball team, which was one out away from earning two wins in Friday’s doubleheader against the Northwestern State Demons and the University of Texas at Arlington Mavericks at Clay Gould Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.
But a collapse in the bottom of the ninth inning against UT Arlington sent the Huskers back to their hotel with a split and a 2-7 record. Nebraska will play the same schedule again tomorrow—Northwestern State at 11 a.m. and UT Arlington at 3 p.m.
Game One: Nebraska 2, Northwestern State 0
Koty Frank, who began the season as a middle reliever but was part of head coach Will Bolt’s plan to shake things up, made the most of his first start in a Husker uniform on Friday. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound righty threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings—the most of any Husker starter this season—and struck out a career-high 10 batters while allowing five hits and two walks.
The former transfer from Eastern Oklahoma State Community College sat down 15 of his last 18 batters and answered Northwestern State nearly every time it had something cooking on the bases. The Demons stranded seven base runners.
The 6-4, 230-pound Emmett Olson came in to finish the Demons off, and the Illinois native did exactly that by retiring all seven batters he faced with three strikeouts to record the save.
With Frank dealing, catcher Griffin Everitt provided the offense with a two-run homer to left field in the sixth that scored Brice Matthews, who had singled earlier. Matthews, the lead-off hitter, went 2-for-4 at the plate and was the only Husker with multiple hits. Nebraska outhit Northwestern State 8-5, and Efry Cervantes hit Nebraska’s lone double of the win.
Frank’s outing overshadowed Demons’ starter Cal Carver, a lefty who was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, and lived there until he was 10 years old. Carver was solid in his own right, throwing six innings while striking out eight with one walk. Carver’s one mistake against Everitt was the difference, however.
Northwestern State dropped to 3-6 on the year.
Game Two: UT Arlington 4, Nebraska 3
After two poor starts on the mound against Sam Houston and TCU, Kyle Perry—and his coaching staff—wanted to see success.
Everyone found what they were searching for in the first half of the game.
Perry pitched five scoreless innings in the back half of Friday’s doubleheader against UT Arlington, which is the longest he’s lasted in a game this season. He threw just 1 1/3 innings against Sam Houston and 4 1/3 against TCU.
The left-handed Perry was steady and never hurt himself with mistakes, too, which is something he’s done before. In his first two starts, Perry had a problem with letting hitters off the hook—he handed out a combined 10 free passes with eight walks and two hit batters. But on Friday against the Mavericks, he didn’t allow a free pass at all as he struck out four batters while giving up five harmless hits.
Nebraska loaded the bases with one out in the fifth, and Everitt came through for his team again as he managed to hit a sacrifice RBI that scored freshman Josh Caron. The Huskers had an opportunity to tack on more runs as the bases continued to be juiced with two outs, but Cam Chick struck out swinging to keep Big Red’s lead at 1-0 heading into the bottom of the fifth.
Like the inning before, the Huskers loaded the bases again in the sixth, and this time it was Cervantes who brought home two runners on a sac fly to right field that scored Luke Jessen and Caron, who beat the throw at home with a head-first slide to give his team a 3-0 edge. Wilson Galvan, the outfielder who caught the fly ball, fell down after the catch, which allowed Caron enough time to score.
After relievers Mason Ornelas and Ethan Bradford pitched three innings of scoreless baseball, disaster struck. With Colby Gomes on the mound trying to close out the win, UT Arlington ripped off two doubles and three singles to tie the game at 3. With the bases loaded and two outs, Gomes hit batter Oscar Ponce to give the Mavericks a walk-off win.
Nebraska’s offense left 11 runners on base in the loss and was outhit 11-10. Sophomore Jack Steil was the only Husker who had multiple hits as he went 2-for-4 at the plate. The Huskers struck out 11 times.