LINCOLN, Neb. -- Behind 7.2 innings of two-hit work from starter Chance Sinclair along a three-run fifth inning from the Husker offense, Nebraska opened its series against No. 11 Texas on Friday night at Hawks Field with a 3-1 victory. The Huskers are now 19-7 and are 12-1 at Hawks Field in 2015.
After starting the year 1-3, Sinclair produced his third consecutive win to improve to 4-3 on the year and 13-4 during his career at Nebraska. The third-team preseason All-American didn’t give up a hit until the sixth inning, when No. 9 hitter Zane Gurwitz lined a single up the middle, and only allowed four base runners on the evening. Sinclair struck out six Longhorns, including five over the first three innings.
Texas starter Parker French matched Sinclair early, allowing only a pair of hits through the first four innings. The wheels fell off for French in the fifth when the Huskers started the frame with four straight hits. The senior lasted a season-low 4.1 innings and gave up a season-high three earned runs on a season-high tying seven hits.
Austin Darby got NU’s three-run fifth started with a base hit and the Huskers quickly had two runners in scoring position when Austin Christensen, who had missed the last 10 games with a hamstring injury, followed with a double. Freshman Elijah Dilday broke the scoreless game with a RBI single, his first RBI as a Husker, and Jake Placzek loaded the bases with a bunt single. Ryan Boldt gave the Huskers a 2-0 lead with a RBI groundout and Jake Schleppenbach chased French from the game with a RBI single, the Huskers fifth hit of the inning. Reliever Ty Culbreth took over and stopped the bleeding with an inning-ending double play.
With a 3-0 lead, Sinclair hung zeros in the sixth and seventh innings, but got into a jam in the eighth when he walked leadoff batter Bret Boswell and then gave up a single to Michael Cantu. Kacy Clemens laid down a sacrifice bunt that put two runners in scoring position and Gurwitz followed with a sac fly that cut NU’s lead to 3-1. With the tying run at the plate in leadoff man Ben Johnson, the Huskers turned the ball over to junior relieve Colton Howell, who promptly ended the Texas threat with a three-pitch strikeout.
Josh Roeder, a native of Plano, Texas, took the mound in the ninth and struck out the first batter he faced. Collin Shaw then roped his 14th double of the year into right field to give the Longhorns life. Roeder bounced back and retired UT’s No. 4 and 5 hitters in order for his eighth save of the season and the 26th of his career.