03.08.2011 / The Huskers take 2 of 3 Games from the Bruins. Blog posting by Mike Babcock, Huskers Illustrated Magazine
The umpire might not have been able to verify that Nebraskas Bryan Peters touched home plate. A mob of jubilant Huskers had left the third base dugout to meet him. Home plate was somewhere in the midst of that mob.
"As Anderson told his team on the field immediately afterward, this could be the start of something very special."
Even so, “I’m pretty sure I found it,” Peters said. Until late Sunday afternoon at Hawks Field in Lincoln, the sophomore second baseman from Fort Collins, Colo., had never hit a home run as a Husker. His last home run came during a summer league game following his senior year in high school. At least, that’s how he remembered it.
“He really isn’t a home run guy,” said teammate Josh Scheffert. “So that kind of surprises us.” Peters’ home run, on the first pitch in the bottom of the 11th inning, gave Nebraska a 5-4 victory against UCLA, as well as a series victory against the nationally ranked Bruins. “What a special series,” Husker coach Mike Anderson said. “What an unbelievable series.”
Anderson wasn’t exaggerating, and not just because Nebraska won two of three from UCLA, which was ranked as high as fifth. The Bruins were the 2010 College World Series runners-up. All three games went extra innings, with UCLA winning the first on Friday 1-0 in 11 and the Huskers winning the second on Saturday 2-1 in 12. Peters singled in the winning run in game two.
That Nebraska was even in a position to win on Saturday was remarkable, considering UCLA’s Trevor Bauer struck out 17 in 10 innings. He and the Bruins’ Friday starter, Gerrit Cole, “are the best college pitchers I’ve seen,” said Anderson. “Those guys are spectacular.” Cole allowed only two singles in nine innings on Friday.
But Kash Kalkowski’s one-out, bottom-of-the-seventh home run against Bauer, the third of only four hits the Huskers managed against him, tied the score and set the stage for a dramatic finish. The winning run reached base on a strikeout and wild pitch. “Those are the little things; somebody flinched and we got a win out of it,” Anderson said. With Sunday’s victory, Nebraska’s record improved to 8-4. The Husker pitchers, among them starters Jon Keller, Matt Freeman and Brandon Pierce and relievers Casey Hauptman and Dylan Vogt, held their own against UCLA. “I thought (it was) a great weekend for our pitching staff,” Anderson said.
As Anderson told his team on the field immediately afterward, “this could be the start of something very special,” said Scheffert, who singled in the tying run with two outs in a three-run bottom of the ninth, another unlikely sequence aided by a UCLA error.
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