The gloom and doom of an 0-7 record gave way to a break in the clouds, a calming of the cutting wind and a Nebraska baseball victory.
The Huskers scored seven runs in the sixth inning en route to an 8-5 win against New Mexico on Saturday before 1,592 hardy fans at Haymarket Park. Nebraska will face New Mexico at 12:05 p.m. Sunday in the series finale.
“All week we talked about how 0-7 doesn’t mean a thing and we were putting way too much pressure on ourselves to fix the record,” said NU right fielder Austin Darby, who singled in a pair of runs in the sixth. “Let’s make baseball fun. It is a fun game. We all play baseball because it is fun, and that’s the only way to play.
“And I can tell you hitting and scoring is fun, too.”
Slogging through a 15-inning scoreless string, as well as losing every game the first two weekends of the season, Nebraska seemed to be slipping farther from the plus side as New Mexico took a 5-0 lead through the top of the sixth.
DJ Peterson hit a three-run home run and the Lobos (2-5) scored an unearned run in the fifth and another on three hits in the sixth.
“Face the music. Down 5-0 and 0-7, you could easily quit, and they didn’t,” NU coach Darin Erstad said. “They fought back and got their first victory.”
The Husker rally started with Rich Sanguinetti drawing a walk and Austin Darby reaching on a fielder’s choice. Sanguinetti went to second on a throwing error. Chad Christensen, one of the top Husker hitters, then bunted and New Mexico pitcher Kevin Baumgartner threw wildly to first, allowing two runs to score and Christensen to reach third.
Let the stampede begin.
Pat Kelly singled in Christensen, and Kash Kalkowski followed with a run-scoring double to left-center. Blake Headley then singled in a run and Darby drove in two more.
The Huskers added a run in the seventh, when Josh Scheffert, a senior from Lincoln Southeast, singled, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly by Kalkowski.
“Chad gets that bunt down and it's contagious, look out,” Erstad said. “The pitchers start to feed off that end, too.”
Husker sophomore reliever Josh Roeder allowed just one hit and one walk through the next two innings, and closer Dylan Vogt was perfect in the ninth.
“Josh did a heck of a job and threw big pitches in big situations,” Erstad said.
Roeder faced the bases loaded with one out before striking out the next two batters to finish the seventh.
“He’s a tremendously confident kid and did something we can look forward to the rest of the year," Erstad said. "Vogt, that was more like him, down in the zone. That was another one of those deals where he was trying too hard and he had to just take a step back and go play baseball.”
Kalkowski, a senior from Grand Island, said the slow start to the season was still on the Huskers' minds.
“It was still there, but we tried to stay focused on the little things and we broke out with a big inning, our first one all year,” he said. “It’s great to get a win and to get a home game. Nice, cold weather.
“Honestly, I’m from here and I hate cold weather, but a win warms you up.”
NEBRASKA 8, NEW MEXICO 5
|Melendez cf||4||1||2||1||Sanguinetti cf||2||1||1||0|
|Haggerty 2b||1||1||0||0||Darby rf||5||1||1||2|
|Pustay ph||1||0||0||0||Christensen lf||4||1||3||0|
|Peterson 3b||4||1||1||3||Scheffert 3b||4||1||1||0|
|Garver c||4||1||1||0||Kelly 2b||3||1||1||1|
|Campbell dh||4||0||2||0||Kalkowski dh||3||1||1||2|
|Real 1b||4||0||0||0||Headley 1b||4||0||1||1|
|Padilla lf||4||0||0||0||Lubach c||3||1||0||0|
|Harris rf||4||1||2||1||Peters ss||4||1||1||0|
E--Haggerty (5), Padilla (1), Allbritton (2), Baumgartner (2), Kelly (1), Peters (2). DP-- New Mexico 1, Nebraska 1. LOB--New Mexico 6, Nebraska 6. 2B--Christensen (1), Kalkowski (2), Peters (2). HR--Peterson (3). S--Allbritton (1). SF--Melendez (1), Kalkowski (2). SB--Kelly (2), Kalkowski (2). CS--Harris (1), Sanguinetti (1).
|Baumgartner (L, 0-1)||1 1/3||4||6||4||1||1|
|Hoppes (W, 1-1)||1/3||0||0||0||0||0|
|Vogt (S, 1)||1||0||0||0||0||1|
WP--Consiglio 2, Spencer 2, Pierce. T--2:55. A--1,592.