A three-run double in the ninth inning Thursday by Nebraska third baseman Blake Headley broke a tie to sting BYU baseball with a 6-3 loss.
The Cougars (0-5) jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning before 930 fans at the Peoria Sports Complex in the first of a four-game series against Nebraska (2-2).
That gave BYU starting pitcher Kolton Mahoney a cushion to work from as he tallied six strikeouts in as many innings before Nebraska tied the score in the sixth frame.
“It was nice to see Kolton (Mahoney) come out strong and set the tone for us,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. “Our hitters did a great job today, but we need to get hits when they count. We are stranding far too many base runners out there inning after inning. The bottom half of our lineup needs to step up, be competitive and do a better job of grinding out at-bats.”
The Huskers loaded the bases in the third inning when Mahoney fielded a nubber but couldn’t get the lead runner and missed throwing out Jake Schleppenbec at first. Quick hands by Cougar second baseman Tanner Chancey stopped another threat in the fifth when he threw out Schleppenbec for the second out.
In the sixth inning, Chauncey’s throw to home was a shade off target as Nebraska plated its second run. Cougar right fielder Eric Urry nabbed a sacrifice fly on the warning track as the Huskers tied the score, 3-3, that inning.
Reliever Mason Marshall retired Nebraska in order in the eighth, starting with Lund laying out to secure an out. In the ninth, the Huskers led off with consecutive singles from Marshall before he was replaced by Michael Rucker, who gave up an intentional walk to load the bases before Headley’s double.
The Cougars left the bases loaded in the third, but a 5-3 double play closed that frame.
“This was a good college baseball game and the team that won got the big hit today,” Littlewood said.
The two teams play a doubleheader on Friday at noon MDT, in the four-game series that ends Saturday.
Ralph R. Zobell has worked for BYU Athletic Media Relations in various capacities for over 30 years. You can view his bio at byucougars.com/staff/athletics/ralph-zobell or contact him at [email protected].