RUSTON, La. — Nebraska’s hitters put together another productive sixth inning and its bullpen held off a late Louisiana Tech rally as the Huskers avoided a series sweep with a 3-2 win in the second game of a Saturday doubleheader.
Louisiana Tech won the opener 2-1.
The NU offense struggled in all three games at Louisiana Tech (5-11), totaling five hits in a 5-0 loss Friday and six hits in Saturday’s first game. But the Huskers (5-9) came alive in the finale, specifically in the sixth inning — where they’ve outscored opponents 17-6 this year.
“The sixth inning, again, who knows?” NU coach Darin Erstad told the Husker Sports Network. “It’s so random why we keep scoring in that inning.”
Sophomore Austin Darby’s single with runners on first and third and no outs in the sixth made it 1-0, and senior Josh Scheffert followed with a two-run double, which proved to be enough to lift Nebraska to its first road win of the season.
“When you’re not swinging it (well),” Erstad said, “you have to be able to grind it out and find ways to win close games.”
Brandon Pierce, the junior right-hander who started for Nebraska, tied a career-high with six strikeouts, but he left the second game after giving up a leadoff single in the seventh inning. After the Bulldogs’ Corey White trimmed NU’s lead to 3-2 with a two-out double off reliever Michael Hoppes, the Huskers turned to right-hander Josh Roeder. He got a flyout to end the threat.
The Bulldogs didn’t get a hit after that.
Nebraska fell short on a comeback attempt of its own in the first game.
The Huskers pulled within 2-1 on senior Chad Christensen’s two-out single in the eighth. And they had runners on second and third with one out in the ninth, but junior Corey Stringer struck out and sophomore Tanner Lubach grounded out.
The loss spoiled another impressive outing by right-hander Christian DeLeon, who’s now pitched into the eighth inning in his last two starts.
The junior transfer from Blinn (Texas) Community College was a little shaky early, giving up two consecutive RBI singles with one out in the first inning. But he induced a double play to get out of the jam. Then he allowed just three baserunners after that. He set down 10 in a row during one stretch.
But the Bulldogs’ two first-inning runs were all they needed as the Nebraska offense continued to struggle.
The Huskers finished the series with 17 hits, batting .183 as a team. They didn’t get their first extra-base hit until Christensen’s one-out double in the fourth inning of Saturday’s second game. And they totaled just two hits in 16 at-bats with runners in scoring position before breaking through in the decisive sixth inning of the second game.
“We’re going to have to go back to the drawing board and find a way to get some more runs across the board,” Erstad said. “Our pitchers are giving us a chance to win.”