SAN DIEGO–(KFOR Feb. 20)–Nebraska plated runs in the first six innings and held an 8-2 lead in the middle of the fifth but couldn’t on, as the Huskers suffered a 10-9 walk-off defeat in the bottom of the ninth at San Diego on Sunday afternoon at Fowler Park.
Nebraska scored nine runs on 10 hits, while San Diego totaled 10 runs on nine hits.
Max Anderson led the Huskers at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a double, home run, four RBI and two runs. Dylan Carey was 2-for-5 with his first collegiate home run and two RBI. Casey Burnham went 2-for-4 with two runs, while Josh Caron had a 2-for-4 day with and RBI and two runs. Ben Columbus drove in two runs while making his first start as a Husker.
Caleb Clark became the 10th true freshman since 1999 to make a start on the mound in the opening weekend. Clark tossed 4.1 innings in his debut, allowing five runs on three hits with two walks and a strikeout. Brett Sears made his Husker debut, facing a trio of USD hitters. Kyle Perry and Corbin Hawkins teamed up to pitch the next two innings in relief. Jalen Worthley made his collegiate debut out of the bullpen, throwing a perfect 1.2 innings with a pair of strikeouts. Michael Garza fell to 0-1 on the season, allowing one run on two hits in 0.1 innings.
The Nebraska offense went to work quickly, plating three runs on four hits in the top of the first. Burnham and Anderson reached on back-to-back singles, followed by Caron’s RBI single through the right side on a 1-2 to pitch to score Burnham.
Columbus picked up an RBI in his first at-bat as a Husker, lifting an 0-2 pitch to center for sacrifice fly to score Anderson. Carey followed Columbus with an RBI single to plate Caron, stretching the lead to 3-0 on Nebraska’s third run-producing hit with two strikes in the inning.
The Toreros got two runs back in the bottom of the first with Kevin Sim’s two-run homer over the wall in center.
The Big Red got the two runs back in the next half inning to grow the lead to 5-2 after a pair of innings. Brice Matthews drew a two-out walk on full count, and Burnham ripped a single up the middle to set up Anderson’s two-RBI double to left.
Nebraska had the first two hitters reach in the third with a single and hit by pitch by Caron and Will Walsh, while Columbus’ RBI double to left center brought home Caron to give the Huskers a 6-2 advantage in the third.
Solo homers in the fourth and fifth innings expanded the lead to 8-2 for the Husker offense. Anderson unleashed a 3-1 pitch with a 448-foot moonshot over the batter’s eye in center, while Carey drilled a 389-foot solo homer to left for his first collegiate home run.
San Diego clawed back with five runs on three hits in the bottom of the fifth to cut the Husker lead to 8-7. A bases-loaded walk plated USD’s first run in the inning, while Sim’s bases-clearing double and Angelo Peraza’s RBI single made it a one-run game through five.
The Huskers answered USD’s five-run fifth by loading the bases with no outs in the top of the sixth but were only able to scratch home one run. Anderson picked up his fourth RBI of the day with a hit by pitch with the bases loaded after Evans, Matthews and Burnham reached on walks and a hit by pitch.
A sacrifice fly and an RBI fielder’s choice by the Toreros in the bottom of the sixth locked the game at nine.
Worthley made this collegiate debut, inheriting a runners on second and third with one out situation in the bottom of the seventh. The Lincoln native eluded the jam by striking out the first two batters he faced to keep the game tied at nine after seven.
A leadoff single and a balk placed the winning run on second with one out in the bottom of the ninth, before Peraza’s RBI single to left-center clinched the 10-9 win for San Diego.
The Huskers and Toreros wrap up this weekend’s four-game series with the series finale tomorrow at 2 p.m. CT at Fowler Park in San Diego.