Frisco, Texas – The Nebraska baseball team (3-6, 0-0 Big Ten) dealt the No. 14 Arizona Wildcats (10-1, 0-0 Pac-12) its first loss of the 2017 season on Sunday afternoon at Dr Pepper Ballpark, as Jake Meyers and Chad Luensmann combined for a 1-0 shutout.
The Wildcats had a runner on base seven times on the day, including a runner in scoring position six times, but each time Meyers and Luensmann extinguished the scoring threat. The Wildcats had the tying run in scoring position in each of the last three innings.
In his second start of the season Meyers struck out four over 5.0 shutout innings, while scattering six hits. Luensmann took the mound to start the sixth and picked up right where Meyers left off. Luensmann allowed two hits and one walk, while striking out four in his second save of the season. The sophomore closer now ranks fourth all-time at Nebraska with 15 career saves.
Arizona’s Rio Gomez was nearly as good as Meyers, but took the loss to fall to 2-1 on the year, his first career loss. The junior lefty allowed one unearned run on seven hits and one walk, while striking out five. Gomez used the fly ball to his advantage, recording 15 fly balls outs and no ground outs. On the day Arizona pitchers recorded 18 fly ball outs and no groundouts.
Mojo Hagge, Luis Alvarado and Ben Miller accounted for six of Nebraska’s seven hits, as all three produced a multi-hit game. Alvarado notched the game’s lone RBI.
After Meyers worked around a leadoff single in the top of the first, Nebraska’s offense gave its starter a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the inning. Hagge led off with a single and was soon at third following a two-base throwing error by Gomez on a failed pick-off attempt. Alvarado served the next offering from Gomez into right field for a RBI single, but was then stranded at first after Gomez retired the next three Huskers in order.
The Wildcats put together a threat in the third when consecutive one-out singles put a pair of runners on for the top of the lineup. Meyers got out of the jam without any damage following back-to-back fly outs. Arizona threatened again in the fourth with runners on the corners and one out, but again Meyers executed and got a 1-4-3 double play to keep the Huskers ahead 1-0.
Nebraska started a rally in the bottom of the fifth when Hagge picked up his second hit of the game and Alvarado followed with a single, but on the play Hagge tried to go first-to-third and was cut down by right fielder Cal Stevenson. Gomez then got a fly out off the bat of Meyers to the Husker scoring chance.
Meyers stranded a runner in scoring for the third straight inning in the fifth before Luensmann took over in the sixth and retired Arizona’s 3-4-5 hitters in order. The Huskers got a leadoff single from Miller in the bottom of the sixth, but Gomez stranded him following a fly out, strikeout and pop out.
Arizona threatened again in the seventh when a one-out error and a walk put two runners on base. Luensmann bucked down, he got a fly out and a groundout to keep the Wildcats off the board. Arizona had a runner in scoring position for the fifth time on the afternoon in the eighth when Jared Oliva recorded his ninth double of the season, but the junior was stranded there following a lineout by JJ Matijevic.
Clinging to a 1-0 lead, Luensmann struck out the leadoff batter in the ninth before the Wildcats got the tying run on base via a single. Following a pop up, Arizona was down to its last out and went to pinch-hitter Casey Bowman. During the at-bat Alfonso Rivas stole second to get in scoring position, but it didn’t matter as Luensmann got a 3-1 groundouts to end the game.
The Huskers now return to Lincoln after playing their first nine games of the season on the road. Nebraska now plays their next eight games at Hawks Field, starting with its home opener on Tuesday against Northern Colorado, with first pitch scheduled for 1:35 p.m.
First Base: J.J. Matijevic, Arizona
Second Base: Carson Shaddy, Arkansas (Tournament MVP)
Third Base: Nick Quintana, Arizona
Shortstop: Jacob Chappell, Oklahoma State
Catcher: Grant Koch, Arkansas
Outfielder: Garrett McCain, Oklahoma State
Outfielder: Mojo Hagge, Nebraska
Outfielder: Luke Bonfield, Arkansas
Pitcher: J.C. Cloney, Arizona
Pitcher: Tyler Buffett, Oklahoma State