Published Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 3:55 pm / Updated at 7:40 pm
Huskers, DeLeon shut down Lobos

LINCOLN — Nebraska's Christian DeLeon held a three-run lead, but he was tiring a bit in the eighth inning when two runners reached and one of the most dangerous hitters in college baseball stepped to the plate.

But the pressure didn't cause DeLeon to abandon the simple formula — changing speeds and attacking low in the strike zone — that had been subduing a potentially explosive offense all game.

DeLeon worked the count to 2-2. Then threw a change-up, deceptively dropping it low and inside so it would momentarily resemble the fastball that New Mexico slugger DJ Peterson wanted to crush.

The strategy worked. DeLeon got the strikeout, one of five during eight scoreless innings, ultimately enough to lead Nebraska (2-7) to a 3-0 win at Haymarket Park on Sunday.

“All my pitches stayed down in the zone (Sunday),” DeLeon said. “I think that's what really helped me out.”

The right-hander out of Blinn (Texas) Community College shut down an offense that ranked fifth nationally in batting average (.326) and sixth in runs per game (7.7) last season. Peterson, who crushed a no-doubt, three-run homer Saturday, was a first-team All-American who hit .419 last season, slugged .734 and recorded a .490 on-base percentage. As a team, the Lobos (2-6) were shut out twice last year.

Yet Sunday, the only time a runner reached second base in the first six innings came in the third, when senior shortstop Alex Allbritton avoided an inning-ending double play because he took off before DeLeon's 2-0 pitch. Peterson was 0 for 4, failing to reach base for the first time this year.

Nebraska's infield turned a double play to end the sixth, then used another one to spoil a possible rally an inning later (runners on first and second with no outs). DeLeon's back-to-back strikeouts, including the one of Peterson, left two stranded in the eighth.

“That first inning, from pitch one, (DeLeon) was down in the zone and pounding the zone,” NU coach Darin Erstad said. “You could tell he meant business the entire day.”

New Mexico starter Sam Wolff had a similar mentality. The right-hander hurled a mid-90s fastball for six innings, striking out six and allowing four hits.

But the Huskers managed to capitalize on enough of their chances.

Senior center fielder Rich Sanguinetti drew a leadoff walk to begin the game, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, stole third, then scored when Chad Christensen fought off a 1-2 inside fastball and grounded out to second base.

In the sixth, Christensen was down to two strikes again but he guided an 0-2 pitch into the right-field corner, sliding safely into second with a two-out double. Senior third basemen Josh Scheffert got behind in the count against Wolff, too. It was 0-2 when he fouled off four pitches (a couple curveballs off the plate included).

But then came an inside fastball and Scheffert launched it just over the wall in left-center field to put Nebraska up 3-0. The Huskers, who had 47 home runs last year, had gone seven games and 267 at-bats between long balls.

“We were just taking what each other were doing (at the plate) and trying to build off that,” Scheffert said. “I wasn't trying to do anything special in that at-bat. Just trying to put the ball in play.”

NU will host Northern Colorado at 1:35 p.m. Tuesday.

New Mexico (2-6) ....................... 000 000 000—0 8 1
At Nebraska (2-7) ........................ 100 002 00x—3 5 0

W: DeLeon, 1-0. L: Wolff, 1-1. S: Vogt, 2. 2B: NU, Christensen (2), Kelly (3). HR: NU, Scheffert (1).

Contact the writer:


Contact the writer: Jon Nyatawa    |   402-473-9585    |  

Jon Nyatawa has covered local sports, primarily Nebraska football and baseball, for The Omaha World-Herald since 2008.



< >
2013 college football preview
View our 2013 college football preview, a 26-page, three-part section filled with coverage of the Huskers, Big Ten conference and more.
Big Red Bowl Retrospective
See complete historical results, game recaps and photo coverage from the Nebraska Cornhuskers college football bowl game appearances, from the 1941 Rose Bowl up to today.
Big Ten football recruits
The World-Herald's Big Ten recruiting database contains every football recruit that signed with a Big Ten school from 2002 to 2011, complete with color-coded interactive map representations, player information, high-concentrations recruiting clusters and more.
Devaney Center timeline
Check out a World-Herald timeline to see the evolution of memorable moments at the Devaney Center, complete with photos, videos, memorable quotes and more.
Follow OWHbigred on Twitter
Looking for the latest Husker sports news from The Omaha World-Herald and Follow us on Twitter!
Husker scholarship distribution chart
Want to see how many scholarships NU has invested at each position? Wondering how the Huskers have appropriated their offers by class? Check out our handy chart to look further into how Bo Pelini has built his team.
Husker Signing Day 2013
The World-Herald's top-notch coverage of the Nebraska football's class of 2013, complete with videos, photos, articles, live recruit interviews, interactive components and more.
Husker turnovers: A slippery slope
Bo Pelini has coached 68 games at Nebraska. When NUís turnover margin is positive or even, the Huskers are 35-2. When they lose the turnover battle, theyíre 13-18. Why hasnít Nebraska joined the nationís elite? More than anything, itís turnovers.
Interactive: Bo Pelini's contract
View an interactive PDF of Pelini's revised contract signed by the NU football coach, complete with brief summaries of the legalese and insight into the document's finer points.
Interactive: Darin Erstad's contract (2012)
View an interactive PDF of NU baseball coach Darin Erstad's contract released in August 2012, complete with brief summaries of the legalese and insight into the document's finer points.
Interactive: Tim Miles' contract
View an interactive PDF of Tim Miles' contract signed by the Nebraska men's basketball coach on May 4, 2012, complete with brief legal explanations, comparisons to other Big Ten coaches and more.'s Big Ten coverage
Delivering the best news coverage and analysis of the Big Ten Conference, from and other top news outlets from around country.
Husker Recruiting: Changes shrink NU's sphere of influence
For decades, the Great Plains represented fertile recruiting ground for Tom Osborne's football program. Restoring that lost tradition won't be easy.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
The Jaipur in Rockbrook Village
Half Off Fine Indian Cuisine & Drinks! $15 for Dinner, or $7 for Lunch
Buy Now
< >