After getting into a 3-0 deficit in the first inning to the BYU Cougars, the Nebraska baseball team fought back and tied the game 3-3 in the sixth and Blake Headley delivered a three-RBI double in the top of the ninth with two outs that gave the Huskers their first lead of the game. Nebraska’s pitching staff held the Cougars scoreless over the game’s final eight innings, including a shutout bottom of the ninth by Josh Roeder, as the Huskers posted a 6-3 victory in the opening game of a four-game series with the Cougars.
Headley made the most of his lone hit on the afternoon, while Ryan Boldt led the Huskers with a 3-for-4 performance. Jeff Chesnut picked up the win and Roeder earned his second save of the season, as four Husker relievers combined to throw 4.0 innings of shutout relief.
BYU’s Mason Marshall retired the first two Huskers he faced in the ninth before Austin Darby started a two-out rally with a single that was followed by a single from Steven Reveles. BYU turned the ball over to Michael Rucker to face Boldt, and the sophomore never got a chance to pick up his fourth hit of the day as BYU intentionally walked him after a wild pitch by Rucker put two Huskers in scoring position. With the bases loaded and two outs, Headley lined the first pitch he saw from Rucker into the left-center field gap to clear the bases and put the Huskers in front 6-3.
Roeder took the mound in the ninth and retired the first two batters he faced before BYU got back-to-back singles that brought the tying run to the plate in clean-up hitter Dillon Robinson. Roeder dug in and retired Robinson 6-3 for his 20th career save.
Neither starter factored into the decision, as both left with the game tied 3-3. Sophomore Derek Burkamper struggled early for the Huskers, but rallied and got stronger as the game went on. The right-hander gave the Huskers 5.0 inning in his second career start and sat down the final seven Cougars he faced. Kolton Mahoney tossed 6.0 innings for BYU, allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks, while striking out six.
The Cougars got after Burkamper, who was making his first start since February 16 of last year, with three runs on five hits in the first inning. Burkamper retired the first batter he faced, but then gave up four straight hits, including a two-RBI triple to Robinson that was followed by a RBI single by Dallen Reber.
The Huskers were in position to produce a big inning in the third when three straight singles from Austin Christensen, Jake Schleppenbach and Christian Cox loaded the bases with no out for the top of the lineup. Darby stepped to the plate for his second at bat of the game and hit into a 4-6-3 double play that did score a run, but it also put an end to NU’s momentum. Mahoney then retired Reveles, limiting the damage to just one run.
BYU then loaded the bases in the bottom of the third with one out and looked to break the game wide open, but Burkamper got a 5-3 double play off the bat Jarrett Jarvis that ended the inning and kept BYU’s lead at 3-1.
Burkamper retired the Cougars in order in both the fourth and fifth to keep Nebraska in range, and NU’s offense came through with a pair of runs in the sixth to even the game at 3-3. After a wild pitch put Boldt and Headley in scoring position with one down, Tanner Lubach hit a slow roller to second base where Tanner Chauncey tried to cut Boldt down at home, but the NU centerfielder easily scored to cut BYU’s lead to one run. Christensen then nearly gave NU a 5-3 lead with a deep blast to right field, but the Eric Urry made the catch at the warning track and Headley scored on the sacrifice fly to tie the game. The Huskers later had Lubach at third base with two outs, but Mahoney struck out Cox to end the inning.
Nebraska’s bullpen kept doing its job and Nebraska’s offense finally broke through in the ninth to complete the comeback.
The Huskers and Cougars continue their series tomorrow with a doubleheader that is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. (CT). Chance Sinclair is set to start game one and Kyle Kubat is scheduled to start game two for the Huskers.