Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Husker Pitchers Can’t Find The Zone, Bats Can’t Find The Ball In Season-Opening Loss To Sam Houston

February 18, 2022

It wasn’t an ideal start to the season for the Nebraska baseball team as Sam Houston defended its home diamond with an 8-5 win over the Huskers on Friday night in Huntsville, Texas.

Nebraska’s pitching staff never got off to a good start and wound up walking eight batters and hit three. Lefty starter Kyle Perry had a rocky first outing on the mound as he lasted just 1 1/3 innings and threw 62 pitches. The Millard South product walked five batters, hit two and gave up five earned runs and two hits.

At the plate, the Huskers struck out 15 times, seven of which were caught looking. Max Anderson and Colby Gomes each had three hits while Brice Matthews, Core Jackson and Luke Sartori each recorded one RBI. Anderson made solid contact on a number of pitches and had a triple and double.

Nebraska took a 3-0 lead in the top of the second when Matthews scored from third on a passed ball. Shortly after, Gomes and Griffin Everitt scored after Jackson reached thanks to an error by the Sam Houston shortstop. Jackson, a freshman from Canada, was awarded one RBI on the play.

Sam Houston loaded the bases against Perry in the bottom of the second as he struggled to find the zone with two walks and a hit batter. The Bearkats’ Clayton Chadwick cashed in on the opportunity with a two-run single to cut the hosts’ deficit to 3-2. Then Cole Wishkoski tied the game with a single off Perry, who loaded the bases with another walk before reliever Koty Frank came in. Tyler Davis then hit a two-run single off Frank to give Sam Houston a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the second.

Despite the two-run single, charged to Perry, Frank was a bright spot for the Huskers. The senior from Oklahoma pitched 4 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball and struck out six batters against two walks.

In the top of the sixth, Sartori came through for his team at the plate with a two-out single that scored Gomes. The good vibes at the plate continued in the seventh when Anderson smashed a triple to left-center. Matthews then got enough of a grounder to third that allowed Anderson to score to tie the game at 5-all.

The bottom of the seventh wasn’t kind to the Huskers as Sam Houston regained the lead by scoring three runs, and the inning started with an error from last year’s Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Anderson.

Emmett Olson came in relief for Frank, but his lead-off batter reached after the throwing error from Anderson sailed high over the 6-foot-5 Gomes and his glove. Olson didn’t respond well and hit a batter and walked another, then things unraveled as Easton Loyd connected on an RBI single that was just out of the reach of right-fielder Leighton Banjoff that gave Sam Houston the lead back at 6-5. Wishkoski then blooped a two-run double that landed in shallow right field that Jackson almost came down with, but the Bearkats took an 8-5 edge off the play.

The Huskers start the season 0-1 and will play a double-header tomorrow. The first game is slated to start at 2 p.m. with Grand Island native Shay Schanaman on the bump for Nebraska. Game two will go to Grand Canyon transfer Dawson McCarville.

Friday night marked the beginning of the college baseball season, and one of the Huskers’ non-conference opponents, Long Beach State, had a heck of a first game. The No. 24-ranked Dirtbags visited Mississippi State, which won the College World Series last year, and took the first game from the Bulldogs with a 3-0 win. Nebraska’s first home series of the season is against Long Beach State on March 11-13.

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