Husker baseball team falls to Texas A&M Friday
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Brooks Raley scatted two hits over 7.1 innings, as No. 23 Texas A&M took the opening game of the series with an 8-2 victory over Nebraska Friday night at Olsen Field.
Raley (7-1) fanned four and allowed only two hits, as he pitched into the eighth for Texas A&M (23-14, 9-7 Big 12).
The Huskers (17-19-1, 4-12 Big 12) had several early opportunities against the Aggie left-hander, pushing across a run in the top of the first on Tyler Farst's RBI double and getting base runners on in each of the first four frames before Raley settled down.
"I thought we had some good swings against him over the first five innings, but we had some tough luck with some liners right at them and they made some great defensive plays," Nebraska coach Mike Anderson said. "I thought we were the aggressors until they scored the runs in the fifth. If we had been able to get a couple of runs off Raley early, we could have continued putting pressure on, but he did a nice job of making adjustments and mixing in his off-speed pitches."
Raley found his groove in the middle innings, retiring 14 of 15 Huskers after Adam Bailey's two-out single in the third, including 10 in a row until Jed Hanson's pinch-hit walk in the eighth.
The Huskers took an early lead, as Jake Mort was hit by a pitch before Farst sent a 1-1 offering into the gap in left center, scoring Mort, who was running on the pitch from first. Texas A&M got the run back in the bottom of the first with a sacrifice fly by Kyle Colligan to score Raley, who walked and moved to third on a Luke Anders single to center.
The game quickly developed into a pitchers' duel between Raley and Nebraska starter Sean Yost, as the Husker right-hander worked through trouble through the first four frames to keep the game deadlocked at one.
Raley got the rally started, as he drew a walk to open the fifth and end Yost's effort after 81 pitches. Eric Rose came into the face the left-handed hitting Luke Anders, but Anders singled to put runners on the corners.
Erik Bird came in to face Colligan, who lofted a sacrifice fly to deep left to plate Raley. Bird then hit the next two batters to load the bases before Caleb Shofner's RBI single made it 3-1. David Alleman capped the three-run outburst with a sacrifice fly to center.
Shofner went 3-for-5 with four RBIs, including a three-run double in the eighth to break the game opener, while Colligan drove in two runs with sacrifice flies.
Yost pitched valiantly in defeat, allowing two runs on four hits over four-plus inning, as he fanned four but fell to 1-4 on the year.
"Sean pitched well tonight and gave us a chance to win," Anderson said. "He was starting to lose a lot of velocity after the 70-pitch mark. Our goal is to continue to stretch him out more so we can use him deeper into games. In those situations, we have to have guys come out of the bullpen, get some outs and hold them off the scoreboard, but we didn't do a good job of it in the fifth and that hurt us tonight."
Trailing 4-1, the Huskers had a golden opportunity to get in the game in the eighth, as Raley walked Hanson with one out before hitting Kyle Bubak to get the tying run to the plate. Alex Wilson came in and got the Aggies out of trouble, striking out Jake Mort and Bailey to end the eighth.
"We had something going in the eighth, but Wilson came and really did a nice job for them to get them out of trouble," Anderson said.
That would be as close as NU got, as the Aggies took advantage of two walks and a hit batter to push across four runs, including a two-out, three-run double by Shofner.
The Huskers pulled to within 8-2 in the ninth, as Cody Asche doubled and came home on an RBI single by pinch hitter DJ Belfonte.
The series continues tonight at 6:35 p.m. and the game will be carried on the IMG Husker Sports Network and on Huskers.com. In addition, live video will be available on Huskers.com.