#3 Nebraska Edges Baseball, 8-6, In NCAA Regional Opener|
June 3, 2005
Lincoln, Neb. - The University of Illinois at Chicago baseball squad gave #3 Nebraska all they could handle until the bitter end in the NCAA Lincoln Regional Baseball Tournament opener, as the top-seeded Cornhuskers held on for the 8-6 victory over the fourth-seeded Flames in front of 7,669 fans at Hawks Field at Haymarket Park on Friday afternoon.
Trailing 8-6 in the ninth inning, UIC freshman first baseman Mark Hallberg (3-for-5, RBI) led off the frame with a single off of Nebraska closer Brett Jensen. Jensen retired the next two batters, to bring junior catcher Bryan Nolte to the plate.
Nolte rolled a grounder that Nebraska All-American third baseman Alex Gordon was unable to handle, putting runners at 1st and 2nd with the go-ahead run at the plate in senior third baseman Bryan Russo (2-for-4, RBI, run). Jensen, however, caught Russo looking for the final out of the game.
"We're disappointed we didn't win, but without question I'm proud of our kids," UIC Head Coach Mike Dee said. "They could have been distracted by so many things, the crowd, Nebraska's national ranking.
"I'm proud that our kids played with a lot of heart and I told them to walk off the field today with pride."
With the victory, Nebraska improves to 52-13 on the season and advances to the winners' bracket against the winner of #2 North Carolina State/#3 Creighton at 7:05 p.m. (CST) on Saturday evening. UIC falls to 38-20-1 on the campaign and squares off with the loser of the NC State/Creighton contest at 1:05 p.m. (CST).
Nebraska catcher Jeff Christy paced the Huskers at the dish, going 2-for-3 with three runs scored and a homer. Christy's solo-homer in the eighth inning gave the Huskers' some breathing room, as they took a 8-6 lead over the Flames.
Nebraska designated hitter Ryan Bohanan (RBI, run) and right fielder Andy Gerch (run) each collected two hits on the afternoon.
Nebraska pitcher Brian Duensing (8-0) earned the victory for the Huskers, allowing one run and two hits in 2.1 innings of relief, while fanning one batter. Jensen earned his 13th save of the season, allowing one hit in the ninth inning.
Flames' starter Ryan Zink (8-6) was tagged with the loss, surrendering seven runs and 10 hits in 5.1 innings pitched.
UIC senior right fielder Shane Crowder led the way for the Flames offensively, reaching base all five times at the plate, going 4-for-4 with a homer, two RBI and a run scored. Junior designated hitter Ted Rosinski was solid at the dish, batting 3-for-4 with a solo homer, three runs scored and a RBI.
Nebraska took a 4-3 lead into the sixth inning, when the Flames mounted a rally. Rosinski (double) and Russo (walk) both reached base with one out, bringing senior second baseman Mike Bruszer to the plate. Bruszer roped a RBI single, scoring Rosinski from second, evening the score at 4-apiece.
Russo moved to second on the play and scored on a RBI single from Crowder, giving UIC the 5-4 lead.
The Huskers, however, came storming back in the bottom half of the frame, with three runs to push ahead, 7-5. Nebraska left fielder Jesse Boyer (1-for-3, RBI, run) roped a RBI single, while shortstop Joe Simokaitis (2 RBI, run) added a two-run single during the inning to take the lead for good.