Fayetteville, Ark. – (June 5, 2021) The Nebraska baseball team fell 5-1 to No. 1 Arkansas late Saturday night in NCAA Regional action in front of a sellout crowd of 11,084 at Baum-Walker Stadium.
Each team had only five hits in the game but Arkansas drew 10 walks, tying the most walks allowed by Nebraska this season. Three of the five Razorback runners who scored found their way on base with a walk. Although the Husker pitchers struggled with their control, they limited Arkansas to just two hits in 16 at bats with runners on base and struck out 10. But Nebraska hitters struck out 13 times and were just 1-for-13 with runners on base.
With the loss, the Huskers (32-13) fall into the loser’s bracket and will face No. 4 seed NJIT Sunday in an elimination game at 2 p.m. The winner of Sunday’s game between the Huskers and Highlanders will meet Arkansas (48-10) at 8 p.m.
Chance Hroch (5-3) started on the mound for the Huskers and allowed three runs on four hits and tied his season high by issuing three walks. The senior struck out six, but lasted just 3.2 innings. It was a Hroch’s shortest start of the season, after he had worked at least 4.0 innings in his first 12 starts of the year.
Offensively, Cam Chick produced two of Nebraska’s five hits, finishing 2-for-4 with a double. Joe Acker singled and scored the Huskers’ lone run of the game, while Luke Roskam had an RBI single to drive in NU’s only run. Jaxon Hallmark went 1-for-3 with a walk to account for the Huskers’ fifth hit.
Arkansas’s Patrick Wicklander struck out seven over 5.0 and improved to 6-1 on the year. The junior left-hander allowed one run on just two hits and two walks.
After Wicklander stranded a two-out walk in the top of the first the Razorback offense scored the game’s first run with one swing. Leadoff hitter Matt Goodheart took Hroch’s fourth pitch deep over the 375 sign in left-center field for his 13th homer of the year. Hroch then walked Cayden Wallace, but settled in with a pair of strikeouts and a fly out to limit the damage to one run.
The Huskers put the tying run on base in the top of the second when Chick lined a one-out single to center, but Wicklander kept him at first with a strikeout and a groundout. Arkansas then tacked on a pair of runs on two hits, including a RBI single from Braydon Webb. After Webb’s single the lineup rolled over and Goodheart worked a walk to load the base with one out. Wallace delivered a sacrifice fly and then Hroch got a fly out to end the inning, with Arkansas leading 3-0.
Hroch faced 12 batters over the first two innings, but then found a rhythm in the bottom of the third and put the Razorbacks down in order, including a pair of strikeouts. Hroch sat down the first two batters in the fourth before Webb reached on a fielding error and Goodheart followed with a single, which ended Hroch’s night. Cam Wynne came in with runners on the corners and got a ground out to end the inning.
Emmett Olson stranded a pair of runners in the bottom of the fifth and then the Husker offense broke up the shutout. Nebraska got its leadoff man on for the first time in the sixth when Acker singled to center field, Nebraska’s second hit of the game. Arkansas went to reliever Kevin Kopps, who was named Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Year earlier in the week. Kopps retired the first two batters he faced before Roskam delivered a two-out RBI single that cut the UA lead to 3-1. Griffin Everitt stepped in as the tying run and grounded out to end the frame.
The Razorbacks got the run back and added another in the bottom of the sixth, but both runs were unearned and Arkansas didn’t record a hit. Jalen Battles led off and reached on an error, but Olsen bounced back with a strikeout and a lineout. He was in position to get out of the inning but walked Cayden Wallace on four pitches. The Huskers went to Jake Bunz and the junior walked two batters before a run scored on a passed ball and Bunz walked Robert Moore. Max Schreiber came in with runners on the corners and needed just one pitch to end the inning with a groundout.
Trailing 5-1, Chick led off the seventh with a double down the right-field line. He later advanced to third on a groundout, but was stranded 90 feet from home when Kopps struck out pinch-hitter Leighton Banjoff to end the frame.
Hallmark reached in the eighth on a one-out single, but Kopps retired two straight to keep Arkansas on top, 5-1. Tyler Martin kept the deficit at four with 1.2 innings of scoreless relief, but Kopps retired the side in order the top of the ninth to wrap up a 4.0-inning save, his 11th of the year.
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