Jordan Roualdes struck out Michael Reed with the bases loaded in the top of the ninth, preserving Nebraska’s 8-7 victory over Texas Tech Sunday.
Roualdes, one of six Husker seniors making their last collegiate appearance, entered the game after the Red Raiders pushed across a run and loaded the bases with two outs. The senior left-hander struck out Reed on three pitches, collecting his second save and completing a three-game sweep for the Huskers (27-27, 10-17 Big 12).
“We liked the matchup with Jordan out there,” Nebraska Coach Mike Anderson said. “He came in and did a good job and that was what we needed to happen right there. It was a good way for him to end his Husker career.”
Roualdes’ heroics capped an afternoon which saw Nebraska overcome deficits of 4-1 and 6-3, as the Huskers scored three in the seventh to tie the game and used back-to-back eighth-inning homers from Josh Scheffert and Cody Asche to take the lead.
Scheffert opened the eighth with his fifth homer of the season, a solo shot to left off of Red Raider starter Bobby Doran (5-3) before Asche greeted Jeremy Mayo with his 10th homer of the season, a line drive shot to right center. Scheffert, Asche and Adam Bailey all had two hits and two RBIs for the Huskers, while Cade Thompson had a career-high four hits and scored twice in his final appearance as a Husker.
“They came out with a sense of ‘Let’s get some things done. I’ve sensed that for the last three weeks,” Anderson said after the Huskers closed out the season by winning eight of their final 11 games. “I sensed that at Missouri, but it just didn’t happen. Except for one ballgame, I thought they played very well at Missouri and just didn’t get some wins. There are some good signs that don’t always mean wins and losses. ”
Freshman Ryan Hander (1-0) pitched a perfect eighth inning to collect his first win of the season, becoming the third Husker freshman to earn his first career win this week, as Nebraska won its last four contests. Doran took the loss for Texas Tech, allowing seven runs on 10 hits in 7.0 innings.
Jamodrick McGruder drove in three runs with a pair of hits, including a homer for Texas Tech (27-27, 13-14 Big 12), which has dropped four straight entering next weekend’s Big 12 Tournament in Oklahoma City.
Texas Tech struck first with a pair of runs in the top of the second off of NU freshman Tyler Niederklein. A single by Reed and a double by Scott LeJune put runners on second and third with no outs before back-to-back sacrifice flies from Kevin Whitehead and Nick Popescu gave the visitors a 2-0 lead.
The Huskers chipped away at the lead in the third, as Thompson’s single started the rally before Cory Burleson’s base hit to center was misplayed, allowing Thompson to race home from first on the play and cut the Tech lead to 2-1.
The Red Raiders quickly extended the lead with single runs in the fourth and fifth to take a three-run lead at 4-1. In the fourth, Whitehead’s RBI single scored Barrett Barnes, who opened the frame with a double and moved to third on a ground out. Tech manufactured a run one inning later, as Bonham Hough doubled, moved to third on a sacrifice and scored on McGruder’s sacrifice fly.
Nebraska used clutch two-out hitting in the sixth to push across a pair of runs and made it a 4-3 game. With two outs and DJ Belfonte on first, Scheffert ripped a RBI double to left center before coming home moments later on an RBI single from Asche.
Tech got some breathing room in the seventh, getting a two-run homer from McGruder, but the Huskers fought back, tying the score against Doran, who pitched until the eighth. Thompson was once again the catalyst, opening the inning with a double before a walk and an error loaded the bases with no outs. Kyle Bubak drove in a run with a slow roller to short before Bailey came up big two hitters later with a two-run single to right to tie the game.
The Huskers will look ahead to the 2010 season next February.