No. 20 Arizona State (35-13, 14-10 Pac-12) out hit Nebraska (25-19, 13-8 Big Ten) 8-7 in Saturday afternoon’s game in Lincoln. However, the statistic that mattered wasn’t the hits, it was the scoreboard.
The Cornhuskers edged out a 2-1 win over the Sun Devils on Saturday. Although ASU had a variety of well-hit balls and played a clean game, the baseball gods didn’t fall in favor of the team from Tempe.
Nebraska scored lone runs in the third and fourth innings, and that would be all they needed. The first run was an RBI single with two outs off the bat of Cornhusker junior Luke Roskam.
With a runner on second base, he dropped a ball just in front of a sliding Hunter Bishop in center field. Bishop trapped the ball and tried to sell it to the umpire, but it was to no avail. Nebraska snagged a 1-0 lead.
In the fourth, they followed that run with another tally courtesy of an RBI from freshman Colby Gomes, who hit a high chopper down the third base line. The top spin rode up on ASU sophomore third baseman Gage Workman and was too hot to handle. The ball scooted into center field and a run scored from second base.
ASU would trim into the lead in the sixth inning thanks to sophomore first baseman Spencer Torkelson. He got a pitch up at the belt and did not miss. Torkelson launched it over the left field wall for his fourth home run in his last four games.
The rest of the contest would fall upon the pitching arms of both teams. ASU starter Boyd Vander Kooi had one of his best starts of the season following a disaster last weekend against No. 1 UCLA. He bounced back to go seven innings while striking out seven and allowing just the two runs.
Vander Kooi battled and had a solid performance. However, he would fall upon a tough-earned loss due to Nebraska’s pitching and defense.
Cornhusker senior pitcher Nate Fisher went into the sixth inning while allowing just one run and striking out seven. His bullpen then backed him up. Nebraska junior Robbie Palkert came on in relief to throw 2.2 innings and fan six Sun Devils.
Then Gomes, who was responsible for the game-winning RBI, closed out the game in the ninth. In that final frame, he also received help from his left fielder Mojo Hagge. With a runner on first, ASU sophomore second baseman Drew Swift turned on a pitch and gave it a ride to deep left field.
Hagge trekked back and leaped to rob Swift of extra bases. The stellar defensive effort helped out Gomes. He recorded a strikeout to end the game.
Despite a strong pitching performance from Vander Kooi, the bats were tied up after an offensive explosion just one day prior. The rubber match between ASU and Nebraska is slated for Sunday at 11 a.m. MST.