May 17, 2009
LINCOLN, Neb. — Jake Mort’s first of two home runs erased a one-run deficit and gave Nebraska a lead it never relinquished as the Huskers defeated Baylor 9-4 in Sunday’s Big 12 Conference series finale at Haymarket Park. Baylor (27-23, 10-16) has lost 10 consecutive conference games, the longest conference skid in program history. Nebraska earned its first Big 12 sweep since last year’s Texas Tech series.
Baylor strung together three consecutive two-out singles in the top of the first to take a 1-0 lead. It was the Bears’ first lead in a Big 12 game since the seventh inning of the Oklahoma series finale, a five-plus-game span. However, that lead was short-lived as Nebraska rallied for three unearned runs on one hit in the bottom of the inning. DJ Belfonte was hit by a pitch to open the frame and later scored on a wild pitch. Jeff Tezak added a two-out, two-run double.
Nebraska held that 3-1 advantage until the Bears rallied for three runs in the top of the fourth. Shaver Hansen opened the inning with a double, and Ben Booker then reached on an error. Don Lambert scored Hansen with a one-out RBI double, and Raynor Campbell followed with a two-run double to give the Bears a 4-3 lead.
However, Khiry Cooper walked to open the bottom of the fifth, and Mort delivered a one-out, two-run homer two batters later. Nebraska added a pair of runs on two hits and a Baylor error in the seventh. Mort then blasted a two-out, two-run homer in the eighth to cap the scoring at 9-4,
Senior Erik Bird tossed a complete game for the Huskers in his first career Big 12 start. Bird (2-1) allowed four runs – three earned – on eight hits and a walk with seven strikeouts.
Starter Shawn Tolleson (1-2) took the loss for the Bears; he allowed five runs – only two of which were earned – on four hits and three walks with five strikeouts over 6.0 innings.
Mort finished the game 3-for-5 with four runs and five RBI. Hansen and Lambert each had two hits for the Bears.
Baylor now turns its attention to the Big 12 Championship at Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City. The Bears will be the eight seed and will face regular-season champion Texas in the first pool-play game. The other two teams in that pool have not yet been determined. A full schedule of the event will be posted online at www.BaylorBears.com later Sunday night.
NOTES: Baylor leads the all-time series 30-25-1; however, the Bears are 7-13 all-time at Lincoln and have lost five straight at Haymarket Park. … Dickerson extended his hitting streak to 10 games, the fifth streak of 10-plus games by a Baylor player this season.