AUSTIN, Texas -- Although the Longhorns put the tying run on base in the bottom of the ninth, UT was unable to overcome a six-run fifth by the Huskers as No. 5 Texas lost a 7-5 decision to No. 3 Nebraska in front of a crowd of 6,383 fans at Disch-Falk Field on Saturday, April 22.
With the loss to the Huskers (31-6, 11-3 Big 12), the Longhorns (28-14, 13-3 Big 12) incurred their first defeat in Big 12 play in their last eight contests.
After UT starter Riley Boening (Yoakum, Texas) worked out of jams in the first two innings with a pair of double plays, the Longhorns used consecutive singles to open the bottom of the second followed by a sacrifice bunt and a fielder's choice, RBI-groundout from Clay Van Hook (Brenham, Texas) to grab a 1-0 lead. Still alive in the frame, Nick Peoples (Round Rock, Texas) came up with a two-out single to score Van Hook and give UT a 2-0 advantage. One inning later in the third, the Horns again threatened by placing runners on second and third with one out via a walk and double from Preston Clark (Rockwall, Texas). Brett Lewis (Rockwall, Texas) then singled in both runners with a single up-the-middle to put Texas in front by a score of 4-0.
In the top of the fifth, Andrew Brown led off with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on a base hit from Jeff Christy to cut the Nebraska deficit to 4-1. A groundout followed by a single off the bat of Jake Mort and a walk then loaded the base with one out for the Huskers. From there, another walk brought in one run before a single from Ryan Wehrle combined with a fielding error to clear the bases and give NU its first lead of the series at 5-4. With a runner at third and still only one out, Luke Gorsett followed a groundout with a single to left that plated Wehrle and made it 6-4 in favor of the Huskers.
Texas looked to respond in the bottom of the frame by placing two runners on with one out, but NU reliever Charlie Shirek got a fielder's choice and a foul out to work his second shutout inning of relief. After a scoreless sixth for both sides, the Longhorns went back to work in the seventh with runners on the corners and no outs. While a caught stealing produced the first out of the frame, a wild pitch on a strikeout brought home the runner from third to make it a one-run game at 6-5. Countering immediately in the eighth, Nebraska received a double from Luke Gorsett to open the inning, sacrificed him to third and had a two-out, wild pitch score him to make it 7-5 in favor of the Huskers. Three straight walks then loaded the bases for NU in the eighth with two down, but UT reliever Kyle Walker (Houston, Texas) managed to complete his third full inning with a strikeout to keep in a two-run contest.
While the Horns went in order in the eighth, UT attempted to rally from behind in the ninth by putting runners on first and second with one out after a one-out walk and a two-out single from Stubbs. With the go-ahead run now coming to the plate for Texas, Nebraska closer Brett Jensen, who entered the game in the bottom of the ninth, got his fifth batter of the frame to strike out en route to notching his eighth save of the season. Picking up the win in relief for Nebraska was Shirek, who allowed only one run on three hits over 4.2 innings of work, while Texas reliever Kenn Kasparek (Weimar, Texas) incurred the loss.
Headlining the Longhorns' 13-hit attack on the day were four players with multi-hit outings, including Chance Wheeless (Round Rock, Texas), who went 3-for-5 with one run scored, Stubbs, who posted three hits to extend his current hit streak to eight games, and Lewis, who went 2-for-2 with one run scored and two RBI. On the other side of the ledger, Nebraska's offense was led by Gorsett, who tallied a pair of hits while scoring one run and driving in another, and Wehrle, who tallied two RBI and scored one run. Of additional note for UT, Walker equaled a career-best with five strikeouts over a career-high 3.2 innings of relief.
These clubs wrap up their three-game series at Disch-Falk Field with a 1 p.m. Central tilt on Sunday, April 23 presented by Time Warner Cable. Of note, the first 5,000 fans through the gates will receive a Texas Baseball 6-Time National Champions window sticker. To purchase tickets, call by phone (1-800-982-BEVO) or log on to www.TexasBoxOffice.com.