Nebraska's season opening swing through California has been anything but memorable.
The Huskers dropped a doubleheader to No. 22 Cal State Fullerton on Saturday, losing the opening game 10-5 and dropping the night cap 9-0.
Little went right for Nebraska in the nightcap, which was dominated by Fullerton's masterful starting pitching and the Titans' persistent offense.
“We got our butts whipped,” Nebraska head coach Darin Erstad said on his postgame radio show. “That's the formula for winning. You get a lead and you have a good guy on the mound pumping strikes and you get your tail whipped.”
Fullerton got a great start from freshman Justin Garza, who allowed just two hits and one walk in six scoreless innings of work.
“We've struck out a ton early here, we're not competing in and out like we know we can and that's something we'll get corrected,” Erstad said. “He threw good, but that's nothing we haven't been able to handle in the past and some guys are probably pressing a little bit. We have to regroup, and we'll play baseball teams where we have to understand how important it is to pay attention to our approach and the details of this game and today we were just too sloppy. There were too many plays where there were breakdowns.”
Lefty Zach Hirsch took the loss in the night game, allowing seven runs on eight hits in 4.1 innings on the mound. In the second game, Nebraska pitchers combined to walk 11 batters, and Fullerton scored nine runs and left 11 on base in the game.
“He's just been inconsistent,” Erstad said of Hirsch. “Last year he was up a lot, and this year he shows that he can be down, and when he's been up, it's hurt him.”
The disappointing finish to the doubleheader followed an up-and-down game in the opener that saw Nebraska leading 5-4 in the seventh following an RBI single by Pat Kelly.
But Fullerton pinch hitter Anthony Hutting hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh to regain the lead before the Titans added three insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth to secure the win. Nebraska concludes its four-game weekend Sunday against Southern Cal at 3 p.m. CT.