IRVINE, Calif. — Nebraska was shutout for the fourth time this season, losing the series finale against UC Irvine 2-0 Sunday afternoon.
The Huskers (6-11), totaling four hits on the afternoon, couldn't solve UCI starter Andrew Morales, who struck out six in 713 innings.
NU's best chance to avoid the shutout may have come in the second inning, when sophomore Pat Kelly was thrown out at home trying to score from third base. Sophomore Austin Darby reached second base with one out in the fifth inning, but he was stranded there. Senior Rich Sanguinetti made it to second with two outs in the sixth, but senior Chad Christensen struck out to end the frame.
Runs were difficult to come by all weekend for the Huskers, who lost to Irvine (15-5) 2-1 Friday before taking Game 2 4-1 Saturday.
Nebraska hitters batted .187 on the weekend, striking out 25 times during the three games. Senior Josh Scheffert and Kelly, two hitters in the middle of the lineup, each had a tough series, combining to go 2 for 21 at the plate.
But the Huskers were able to keep pace with the Anteaters because of the pitching staff's success, especially so Sunday.
Junior starter Brandon Pierce allowed two runs in 423 innings, surrendering a run-scoring double in the third and giving up another on a throwing error by catcher Tanner Lubach. But then the bullpen took over and kept Irvine scoreless from there.
NU relievers allowed one earned run in 723 innings during the weekend's series.
The Huskers will next play at No. 8 Cal State Fullerton. The first of two games is slated to start at 8 p.m. Tuesday. The second is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
Nebraska (6-11) ........................... 000 000 000—0 4 1
At UC Irvine (15-5) ........................... 001 010 00x—2 8 0
W: Morales, 6-0. L: Pierce, 1-3. S: Parameter, 3.