No. 5 Baseball tops No. 3 Nebraska, 6-2
AUSTIN, Texas -- While Kyle McCulloch turned in a strong seven-inning starting effort, Carson Kainer drove in three runs and the Longhorns' defense held off a ninth-inning rally by the Huskers as No. 5 Texas earned a 6-2 victory No. 3 Nebraska in front of 5,881 fans at Disch-Falk Field on Friday, April 21.
The Longhorns' (28-13, 13-2 Big 12) win over the Huskers (30-6, 10-3 Big 12) not only upped the team's current conference winning streak to seven games, but also snapped Nebraska's present 12-game winning streak overall.
Putting two runners on with no outs in the bottom of the first via a single and a walk prior to a sac bunt from Kainer (Tomball, Texas) and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Chance Wheeless (Round Rock, Texas) produced an early 1-0 Texas lead. Two innings later in the third, the Horns again placed two runners in scoring position with one down after Clay Van Hook (Brenham, Texas) drew a leadoff walk, moved to second on a sacrifice and stole third in front of a walk and steal by Drew Stubbs (Atlanta, Texas). Kainer then delivered a two-run double into the left-field corner to push UT in front by a score of 3-0.
After a scoreless fourth for both sides, UT increased its advantage to 4-0 in the fifth as Van Hook reached second with one out following a leadoff walk and a sacrifice before Kainer came through with a two-out single to left-center field. McCulloch, meanwhile, kept the Huskers scoreless through the first six frames after stranding two runners with one out in the top of the sixth by inducing a foul out and a notching his third strikeout of the ballgame. Kyle Russell (Tomball, Texas) then singled with one out in the bottom of the sixth, stole second and scored on a two-out base hit from Chais Fuller (Fairfield, Calif.) to make it a 5-0 contest.
Answering in the seventh, the Huskers put together back-to-back, one-out singles before a double from Jake Mort scored one and placed two runners in scoring position. With the tying run now in the on-deck circle for Nebraska, McCulloch fanned his next batter and got a flyout to end the inning. Responding immediately in the bottom of the frame, Texas received a two-out, pinch-hit single from Brett Lewis (Rockwall, Texas) with runners on the corners to regain its five-run lead at 6-1. Following a scoreless eighth, the game moved to the top of the ninth where with two outs and a runner on second, the Huskers started to rally. While a single and a walk loaded the bases, a RBI-base hit by Jeff Christy made it a 6-2 game and brought the tying run to the plate. With the game in the balance, Adrian Alaniz (Sinton, Texas) emerged from the UT bullpen and got his first batter hit a pop-up on the infield to seal the victory and notch his third save of the year. While McCulloch, who allowed only one run on seven hits and struck out four over seven innings, won for the fifth time in his last five starts, Nebraska starter Joba Chamberlain incurred the loss despite fanning seven over six innings of work.
Paving the way for the UT offense on the night was Kainer, who went 2-for-3 with one run scored and three RBI, Van Hook, who scored twice while also collecting a pair of hits in two at bats, and Stubbs, who extended his current hit streak to seven games. Meanwhile, the Huskers had their attack, which out-hit the Horns by a slight 10-9 margin, led by four players with two hits apiece, including Nick Jaros, who went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, and Nick Sullivan, who went 2-for-3. Of additional note for UT, Fuller, who singled in the sixth, upped his current hit streak to a career-best five games.
These two teams continue their three-game set at Disch-Falk Field on Saturday, April 22 with a 2 p.m. Central contest, which will be televised by Fox Sports Net. To purchase tickets, call by phone (1-800-982-BEVO) or log on to www.TexasBoxOffice.com.