After Saturday’s game, the Cal baseball team has surely learned something about Nebraska: The Huskers go off late in games.
On Friday, Nebraska rallied from a 7-0 deficit gradually but pushed the game into extra innings with four runs over the eighth and ninth inning. In Saturday’s game at Hawks Field in Lincoln, Neb., the Huskers (9-5) broke a five-all tie in the seventh inning. Then they exploded in the eighth for six unanswered runs to beat the Bears, 12-5, and even the four-game series at one game apiece.
After giving up an RBI double to Josh Scheffert, Cal (10-3) lost focus. Bears starter Matt Flemer hit Cory Burleson, and shortstop Derek Campbell committed a throwing error to allow Scheffert to score.
Coach David Esquer brought in sophomore reliever Michael Lowden to intentionally walk Michael Pritchard to load the bases to face Rich Sanguinetti. The bet didn’t pay off, as Sanguinetti slugged a grand slam to put the game out of reach. Lowden got two strikeouts on the next two batters, but the damage had already been done.
Flemer was charged with giving up 10 runs in the game, nine of which were earned on 12 hits. It marked the senior right-hander’s first loss of the season, bringing his record to 2-1. Prior to Saturday’s loss, Flemer had yielded a total of three earned runs in his three previous starts.
The game featured four home runs, three off Nebraska bats. Third baseman Mitch Delfino, who had to leave Friday’s game after being hit by a pitch, knocked the Bears’ homer. Delfino went 3-for-4 on the day with two RBIs.
Cal equaled the Huskers’ hit count with 13, but stranded nine runners. The Bears started the game off hot, scoring three runs in the first two innings. Esquer’s squad had the bases loaded with one out in the third, but couldn’t bring any runs home. Cal went cold late, totaling just three hits in the final four innings.