March 20, 2012

Baseball can't overcome Huskers' seven-run fourth

Postgame notes

By SCOTT WARD
UNCBears.com

LINCOLN, Neb.  -- Nebraska turned a close game into a blowout Tuesday with a seven-run fourth inning. Northern Colorado Baseball couldn't recover after that and lost 12-3 at Hawks Field.

The Bears, who had won four of six, pulled within 2-1 in the third against the Big 10 Conference Huskers (15-7), and that score stayed until the fourth, when Nebraska's first six batters reached and first five scored, four counting against Northern Colorado starter Joe Willman (1-3).

An error in the inning negated a potential double play for the Bears (5-9) and allowed two to score instead.

Willman allowed six runs on five hits in his fifth start of the season. He struck out one and walked three before his brother, Kevin, came out of the bullpen and got the game into the eighth inning, giving up three runs (one earned).

Harrison Lambert and Eric Ferguson led the Bears with two runs apiece, and both of Ferguson's hits resulted in RBIs. The first was a single to center that scored freshman Taylor Anderson, whose dad Mike Anderson used to coach Nebraska.

Ferguson's second hit was another single that scored Casey Coy.

Nebraska got to Joe Willman early, getting two runs with two outs in the bottom of the first, and Lambert started what had the makings of a Bears' comeback with a leadoff single to right in the third. He quickly advanced to second on a passed ball and, after moving to third on a Derek Baum Single, scored when freshman Jensen Park reached on a fielder's choice to third.

Northern Colorado had a chance to tie it up in the third when Ryan Yamane and Adam Hilker drew walks to push Park to third and load the bases for Adrian Schenk, who entered the game with a NCAA Division I-leading .511 batting average.

Schenk couldn't capitalize, though, as he grounded into an inning-ending fielder's choice.

POSTGAME NOTES: Nebraska's seven-run fourth inning blew the game open … Joe Willman (1-3) started Tuesday and took the loss … His brother Kevin Willman came on with four innings of relief … Adrian Schenk (.511) and Adam Hilker (.500) entered the game ranked 1-2 in the nation in batting average … Neither got a hit Tuesday … Tomorrow's game time between Northern Colorado and Nebraska has been changed to 11:05 a.m. MT (12:05 CT).