March 21, 2009

Courtesy of Nebraska Athletics

LINCOLN, Neb. – Cody Asche and Cody Neer combined to drive in six runs, as Nebraska picked up its second straight win, defeating No. 11 Oklahoma State, 11-4 Friday afternoon.

Neer matched his career high with four RBIs, going 2-for-5, while Asche, who was not in the Husker lineup until about 15 minutes before first pitch, drove in two more, keying a five-run fourth inning against All-Big 12 pitcher Andrew Oliver.

Trailing 3-0, the Huskers (13-6-1, 2-2 Big 12) erupted for five runs off of the Cowboy ace, all coming with two outs. The Huskers loaded the bases on pair of singles and a walk. Jeff Tezak was down 1-2 to Oliver, but fought back to draw a walk to plate the Huskers first run. Neer kept the inning alive by sending an 0-2 offering to center for a two-run double to tie the score before Asche ripped another 0-2 pitch into the corner in left for a triple, scoring two more and giving the Huskers a two-run lead.

“I’m proud of our kids,” Nebraska Coach Mike Anderson said.  “They did a great job against one of the premier pitchers in the country. I think it was just one of our days and a lot of good things happened. Cody Asche was an add-on to the lineup. Ben Kline had a shoulder problem and wasn’t able to go today so, we moved the lineup around a little bit. Cody Neer and Cody Asche ended up having great days for us and one of them wasn’t even in the lineup.”

The Huskers chased Oliver, who tossed a complete game shutout in OSU’s 1-0 win in Stillwater last year, after scoring two more runs in the fourth to extend the margin to 7-4. RBI singles by Jake Mort and Adam Bailey ended Oliver’s afternoon, as he allowed seven runs on nine just in just 3.2 innings, his shortest outing since the 2007 season.

The first six hitters in the lineup combined for 12 hits, nine RBI and nine runs scored on the afternoon. Kyle Bubak went 2-for-4 and scored twice, while Adam Bailey had three hits and scored twice. Tezak also chipped in a pair of hits while drawing two walks.

While the Husker bats got to Oliver, Nebraska’s relief corps was effective, allowing only one run over 5.2 innings of work. Feshman Nate Kerkhoff (1-0) started the sterling relief effort, getting the Huskers out of a bases loaded, one-out jam in the fourth by inducing Dusty Harvard into an inning-ending double play, as he picked up his first career win.

OSU (14-6, 0-1 Big 12) threatened in both the sixth and seventh, but in both instances Husker relievers got out of jams. In the sixth, the Cowboys put runners on second and third, but Eric Rose got pinch-hitter Rafael Thomas to ground out to end the threat. In the seventh, OSU got the first two runners on, but Mike Nesseth came in the game with one out and retired the first two hitters he faced to keep the Huskers ahead.

“We had a great pitching performance from the third inning on,” Anderson said, as middle relievers Kerkhoff, Kash Kalkowski and Erose combined for three innings of shutout middle relief. “They put up a lot of zeros in the middle innings and got us to the point we could pitch Nesseth. Thankfully we scored some runs right there and got a chance to get Mike out of the game and make him available again for the weekend.”

OSU pulled to within 7-4 in the eighth on a Michael Dabbs RBI single, but the Huskers would put the game out of reach with four runs off of Jeff Breedlove in the bottom of the frame. With one out and DJ Belfonte on second, Kyle Bubak ripped an RBI triple into the gap in left center and came home moments later on Tyler Farst’ RBI single. Neer made it a seven-run lead with a two-run double to left center, extend the Husker lead to 11-4.

The Huskers and Cowboys will continue the three-game series Saturday afternoon at 2:05p.m. Jordan Roualdes looks for his third straight win and will be opposed by OSU lefty Tyler Lyons. The game will be carried on the Husker Sports Network and on

Notes: Nebraska improved to 7-0 at home this season...Nebraska picked up its eighth come-from-behind win and overcame a three-run deficit for the fifth time this season...NU is now 42-21 vs. ranked teams at Hawks Field since it opened in 2002...Adam Bailey, who has a 12-game hit streak, matched a season-high with three hits...Bailey now has a team-high 11 mult-hit games, raising his average to .392...Neer’s four RBIs tied his season high against Cal State Northridge on March 7...Neer’s third-inning double ended an 0-for-11 hitless streak dating back to March 8...Neer also tied a career high with four doubles...DJ Belfonte was hit by a pitch in the eighth inning, upping his team-leading total to seven and moving within one spot of second place on NU’s career chart, as he has been hit 36 times in his career...Sean Yost has now pitched in the Huskers’ last five contests, while Kerkhoff has pitched in each of the Huskers’ last three contests...Nebraska coach Mike Anderson became the third Husker head coach to win 100 conference games in his career, joining Tony Sharp (240) and John Sanders (239)...NU has now scored five or more runs in an inning eight times, including six times in seven home games...The Huskers have won 14 of the last 15 against Oklahoma State in Lincoln dating back to 1999.