WACO, TEXAS (April 26, 2008) No. 8 Nebraska used a two-out, two-run single in the top of the 10th of the first game and a seven-run first inning in the nightcap to sweep a doubleheader against Baylor in Big 12 Conference action Saturday at Baylor Ballpark. The Huskers (32-7-1, 15-4-1) took the opener 6-4 in 10 innings and the second game 14-1 in seven innings. The Bears (24-20, 8-12) have lost five straight at home for the first time since 1994.
Brooks Kimmey’s pinch-hit, two-run homer with one out in the bottom of the ninth tied the opener 4-4. However, DJ Belfonte bounced a Willie Kempf 0-2 offering up the middle and into center in the top of the 10th, scoring Jake Opitz and Nick Sullivan. In the second pitch of the at bat, Baylor third baseman Shaver Hansen was able to get a glove on a Belfonte pop foul, but Hansen was not able to hold onto the ball before flipping over the railing outside Baylor’s dugout. Belfonte was the 12th batter of the game to face an 0-2 count and the first to reach base.
Baylor had a chance in the bottom of the inning as Adam Hornung doubled to center with one out. However, Aaron Miller struck out and Beamer Weems grounded out to end the game.
Kempf (5-2) pitched the 10th inning and took the loss, the first of his career at Baylor Ballpark in six decisions. He allowed two runs on one hit and two walks with one strikeout. Starter Kendal Volz allowed two runs on five hits and five walks with eight strikeouts over 6.0 innings.
Mike Nesseth (3-1) earned the victory in relief for Nebraska; he faced one batter, retiring Raynor Campbell with runners at first and second to end the ninth inning. Zach Herr worked the 10th inning to pick up his fourth save of the season.
Nebraska took control of the night cap early, scoring seven runs on four hits, three walks and two hit batsmen. Opitz started the scoring spree with a two-run double. Belfonte had an RBI single, Cody Neer added a two-run single, Ben Kline had an RBI sacrifice bunt, and Bryce Nimmo capped the frame with an RBI double.
The Huskers pushed their lead to 10-0 on a fourth-inning Belfonte sacrifice fly and a fifth-inning, two-run homer from Opitz. Baylor cracked the scoreboard without a hit in the bottom of the fifth. Jon Ringenberg walked to lead off the inning, moved to second on a passed ball, advanced to third on a balk and scored on a Kimmey groundout.
Nebraska did not let up, scoring a run in the sixth on Kline’s RBI single. Tyler Rank added a pinch-hit, two-run double in the seventh, and the Huskers capped the scoring with another Belfonte sacrifice fly later in the inning. The game was called to due the conference’s run-rule, which is in effect for doubleheaders. The 13-run loss was Baylor’s largest margin of defeat at home since a 16-3 loss to Texas Tech in 1994.
Thad Weber (8-2) allowed one unearned run on four hits and four walks with four strikeouts in a complete-game effort for the Huskers.
Shawn Tolleson (4-3) took the loss for the Bears after. He recorded only two outs in the first inning and was saddled with all seven runs.
Baylor and Nebraska conclude the series Sunday at 1 p.m. CDT. Kempf is Baylor’s scheduled starter, but head coach Steve Smith said that could change. The Huskers send right-hander Aaron Pribanic (3-2, 3.86 ERA) to the mound.
NOTES: Baylor leads the all-time series 28-22-1, including an 18-6-1 advantage in games played in Waco. The Huskers snapped a seven-game losing streak at Baylor Ballpark.