LINCOLN, Neb. - The Nebraska Cornhuskers can put a tally in the win column.
After starting the season 0-7, Nebraska won their season home-opener on Saturday 8-5 over New Mexico. It was Nebraska’s 35th straight home opening win, dating back to 1979.
“It would be awesome to come out hammering away and win games. That is the easy way to do it. But we don’t have a crystal ball,” said Nebraska head coach Darin Erstad, who saw his team get into an early deficit against the Lobos during the afternoon contest. “We are 0-7, down 5-0 in the sixth, our guys could have easily quit. They didn’t and got our first victory. That’s a credit to our guys.”
Nebraska used a seven run bottom of the 6th inning to take the momentum, batting through their lineup in the inning for the first time this season, including a two-run RBI single by Austin Darby to take the 7-5 lead.
“Hitting is going to come and go,” said Erstad, who saw his team put 10 hits on the scoreboard. “There are going to be times when you don’t get hits. Honestly you don’t have any control over it. You have to stay positive. It gets magnified early in the season when you don’t have any wins.
“I could tell our kids got a little frustrated early in the game. They wanted to do it so badly. With two outs, they don’t get it done; you can feel the frustration building. But we tell them, keep fighting. Sure enough, they broke through.”
Nebraska’s Michael Hoppes secured the win, throwing to just one batter in the top of the 6th inning.
Nebraska sophomore pitcher Josh Roeder was the real star on the mound Saturday, throwing two innings of relief in the 7th and 8th, striking out three. Roeder loaded the bases in the 7th inning, but struck out back-to-back batters to get out of the inning.
“That’s what it’s all about. You have to make pitches in big situations,” said Erstad. “That’s what he did here. He’s just a tremendously confident kid who will throw any pitch at any time. He relishes those opportunities.”
The Huskers will wrap up the two-game set with New Mexico on Sunday. Game time at Haymarket Park is scheduled for 12:05 P.M.
* Senior outfielder Rich Sanguinetti, who was batting just .133 coming into Saturday’s contest, batted in the lead-off spot for the first time this season. The center fielder was 1-for-2, walking three times with a run.
* Brandon Pierce, who started the game, gave up four earned runs in 5.2 innings. After giving up a home run in the first, Pierce only gave up one run and three hits over the next 4.2 innings.