March 11, 2014

Baseball battles wind, Huskers

By HEATHER KENNEDY
UNCBears.com

LINCOLN, Neb. – The Northern Colorado baseball team started a 12-game road trip on Tuesday at Nebraska with a 10-2 loss to the Huskers amidst high winds at Hawks Field.

The Bears (4-13) had opportunities with seven hits and five walks, but stranded 11 base runners as the Huskers (9-5) won their fifth-straight game.

"The score really didn't depict the effort we put forth today," Head Coach Carl Iwasaki said. "Especially in the first four innings. We played right with the Huskers early. Ross Johnson did a pretty good job of keeping the ball down and keeping their hitters off balance. The late innings where we gave up multiple runs hurt, but we'll clean that up."

The two teams meet again on Wednesday to end the short two-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 12:35 p.m. (MT).

With his walk in the top of the first inning, Ryan Yamane (Manoa, Hawai'i) drew the 84th base on balls of his career, tying him with four others for 12th all-time in Northern Colorado history and his four pitch walk in the top of the third moved him into a tie for 11th with Gary Groniger (1978-81).

Senior Nick Miller (Loveland, Colo.), returning to the place where he started his collegiate career, went 2-for-3 at the plate with a walk and an RBI, while sophomore Rob Cashel (Park City, Utah) in just his second start of the year, went 2-for-4 with the other RBI. Both senior Colby Harrison (Cheyenne, Wyo.) and junior Brandon Vaughn (Louisville, Colo.) scored a run. Vaughn also stole two bases in the game.

"The conditions were tough today, but we both had to play through it," Iwasaki said. "I think our offense is coming around and defense was pretty strong today with a couple of plus plays by Landon Moseley and in the outfield by (Jake) Ekman, (Jensen) Park and Cashel."

Junior Ross Johnson (Lawrence, Kan.) got his first start of the year for the Bears on the hill. Through 2 1/3 innings he allowed one run on two hits with three walks. Sophomore Matt Loutzenhiser (Parker, Colo.) pitched the next three runs and took the loss (0-1) after giving up five runs on eight hits with two strikeouts. Senior Kevin Willman (Aurora, Colo.), freshman Nick Tanner (Foothill Ranch, Calif.) and freshman Cale O'Donnell (Fort Collins, Colo.) all worked in relief and all allowed at least one run.

Nebraska scored one run in the bottom of the third, but the Bears immediately answered. Harrison walked and moved up 90 feet on a sacrifice bunt by Vaughn. Miller singled up the middle for his second hit of the day and Harrison was waved home. The throw was off line and knotted the score at 1-1.

The Huskers added another run in the bottom of the fourth and two in the fifth for the 4-1 lead.

With one out, Harrison hit a sky ball towards left field, but it carried back to the infield and dropped for a base hit. He was erased on a fielder's choice off the bat of Vaughn. Miller and senior Landon Moseley (Lawrence, Kan.) both walked to load the bases and Cashel hit a single past a diving third baseman for the second run of the game.

Nebraska scored three more runs off five hits in the bottom of the sixth, tacked on one in the seventh and two in the eighth to open up the 10-2 score.