Nebraska fell behind 4-1 against Texas State starter Mitchell Pitts and could not recover in the late innings as the Huskers dropped their 2011 season opener against the Bobcats, 7-2, Friday afternoon in San Marcos, Texas.
Pitts went six innings and gave up only one run on two hits to earn the win, while Nebraska’s Tyler Niederklein took the loss, giving up three runs on seven hits in five innings. Pitts had seven of Texas State’s 13 strikeouts on the day.
After falling behind 1-0 in the first, the lone run Pitts allowed was a solo homer to sophomore Josh Scheffert that tied the game in the top of the second. Scheffert led off the frame by taking the 1-2 pitch into the netting behind the left field wall to tie the game 1-1.
Niederklein regrouped after giving up a first inning RBI single and held the Bobcats scoreless in the second, third and fourth innings. The Bobcats put runners on the corners in the fourth, but Niederklein forced TSU into a 6-4-3 double play to get out of the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, Texas State produced three hits, including a pair of doubles to regain the lead at 4-1. With a three-run cushion, TSU’s preseason All-American pitcher Carson Smith relieved Pitts in the top of the seventh.
The Huskers were able to score one off Smith as Chad Christensen doubled down the left field line and later came around to score on a Khiry Cooper sacrifice fly.
Texas State pushed across an unearned run in the seventh before Nebraska threatened again in the eighth with back-to-back two-out singles. Smith then struck out a Bobcat to strike out to end the inning.
After NU was unable to cut into the 5-2 lead, the Bobcats extended their lead with a pair in bottom half of the eighth to account for the final 7-2 score.
The Huskers had five hits in the game, highlighted by Scheffert’s 2-for-4 performance with the home run. The Lincoln, Neb., native had five round-trippers as a freshman in 2010. Texas State produced 11 hits off five Nebraska pitchers.
Nebraska will continue the Texas State Tournament tomorrow in San Marcos with a pair of games against Air Force and Washington. The Huskers will meet the Falcons in the early match-up at 11 a.m., before taking on the Huskies at 7 p.m.