Photo Courtesy: UA Athletics (Walt Beazley)
LINCOLN, Neb. (Univ. of Ark.) - Nebraska broke a 1-1 tie with three runs in the bottom of the eighth and held off a ninth inning Arkansas rally to defeat the 12th-ranked Razorbacks, 4-2, on Tuesday night at Haymarket Park.
The Razorbacks are now 25-14 on the season, while the Cornhuskers improve to 16-19 on the year.
With the game tied at one entering the bottom of the eighth, Nebraska put together a three-run inning to take a 4-1 lead. Blake Headley led off the inning with a pinch hit solo homer over the right field wall to put the Cornhuskers in front 2-1. Nebraska would go on to add two more runs in the inning, one on a RBI fielder's choice and the other run on a double play.
Arkansas was able to make things interesting in the bottom of the ninth, scoring a run and putting the tying runs on base. Eric Fisher started the inning with a double and then moved to third on a two-out infield single by Jacob Mahan. Another infield single by Joe Serrano scored Fisher and moved Fisher to second. The Razorbacks were unable to get any closer as Tyler Spoon flied out to center to end the ball game.
Mahan homered, his second of the season, and had a pair of hits with a RBI and a run scored to lead Arkansas at the plate. Serrano also had two hits and a RBI, while Eric Fisher, Brett McAfee and Jacob Morris each had one hit.
Pat Kelly had two hits to lead the Cornhuskers offensively. Headley homered in his only at bat of the game, while Kash Kalkowski had a hit and a RBI.
Nebraska reliever Luke Bublitz (2-0) earned the win after throwing a scoreless inning out of the bullpen.
Chris Oliver (2-2) took the loss for the Razorbacks after giving up three runs, two earned, on three hits.
The starting pitchers for each team threw well, but received no a decision. Arkansas starter Tyler Wright allowed an unearned run and struck out two in four innings. Nebraska starter Brandon Pierce gave up a run on three hits in five innings.
Nebraska got on the board first in the bottom of the fourth on a two-out RBI by Kalkowski to right to score Michael Pritchard, who reached on a two-base fielding error earlier in the inning.
Arkansas evened the game at one on in the top of the fifth on the homer from Mahan, a solo blast with one out over the right field fence.
The game would stay tied at one until the bottom of the eighth when Nebraska put together a three-run rally to take the lead for good.
Arkansas returns home this weekend to host Texas A&M in a three-game SEC series at Baum Stadium. Game times for the series are scheduled for 6:35 p.m. on Friday, 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday. All three games of the series will be televised with Friday's game on CST, Saturday's game on ESPNU and Sunday's game on ESPN2.