FRISCO, Texas — Nebraska led by seven runs in the fifth inning but blew all of it late in an 11-10 loss to Sam Houston State on Saturday at the Frisco Classic.
The Huskers had tied the game in the top half of the final frame on a Carter Cross sacrifice fly. But a hit batter and intentional walk put on two Bearkats for reserve Darien Simms, whose bouncing two-out RBI single to right gave the walk-off win to the preseason favorites of the Southland Conference.
A wild fifth inning set the tone the rest of the way. NU entered trailing 2-1 but exploded for eight runs, highlighted by a bases-loaded triple from Carter Cross. Sam Houston State (6-3) answered with six in the bottom half against reliever Connor Curry, who lasted just ⅓ of an inning.
Nebraska still held a 9-8 edge into the bottom of the sixth. But a one-out single by Riley McNight — the first-ever video review involving the Huskers upheld a no-catch call on a diving try by center fielder Joe Acker — preceded a two-run homer from Colton Cowser to flip the contest.
“Just one of those games,” NU coach Darin Erstad said during his postgame radio interview. “You felt like you let one slip away today.”
The Huskers (4-6) close out the round-robin tournament Sunday at 11 a.m. against No. 12 Mississippi State after beating No. 3 Texas Tech on Friday night.
Two-hit games for Spencer Schwellenbach, Mojo Hagge, Aaron Palensky and Acker led the way for Nebraska offensively. The visitors scored on a wild pitch in the fourth and benefited from an error during their eight-run fifth.
The Huskers loaded the bases with one out in the ninth but managed only the Cross sac fly before Colby Gomes grounded to end the frame. With Ben Klenke pitching the bottom half, a hit batter and sacrifice bunt eventually led to the heroics from Simms, who was taking his second at-bat of the season after previously entering as a pinch runner.
“We had Shay (Schanaman) behind (Klenke) if we needed to,” Erstad said of his bullpen situation. “It just never got to that.”
NU starter Nate Fisher lasted four innings, allowing two runs (one earned) and striking out three against a lineup that had posted 10 runs against No. 18 TCU last week before foggy conditions wiped out the game. The lefty’s balk and throwing error led to a SHS score in the second and a pair of singles netted another Bearkat run in the fourth.
Two errors from shortstop Angelo Altavilla didn’t help Curry in the six-run fifth, which saw the first six hitters reach. Mike Waldron allowed the Cowser homer in the sixth and Klenke took the loss in the ninth.
“If we don’t play clean… we haven’t figured that out yet,” Erstad said. “Had chances to win, didn’t get it done.”
Nebraska (4-6)………………..000 180 001 – 10 12 3
Sam Houston St. (6-3)……..010 162 001 – 11 14 2
W: Riley Gossett (1-1). L: Ben Klenke (0-1).