Published Sunday, February 16, 2014 at 4:53 pm / Updated at 11:15 pm
BASEBALL
Gonzaga starter shuts down Huskers

TEMPE, Ariz. — Nebraska’s lineup wasn’t productive until it was too late in a 5-3 loss to Gonzaga in the final game of the Husker Classic.

The four-team, three-day event ended Sunday, and not in the fashion the Huskers would have preferred.

They fell behind 2-0 in the second inning and trailed 5-0 by the third, unable to solve Bulldog starting pitcher Andrew Sopko. The sophomore right-hander gave up four hits through seven scoreless innings.

“A couple hard-hit balls here and there, but we never sustained any pressure,” NU coach Darin Erstad said in a postgame radio interview. “They came out with energy and we didn’t match it.”

Gonzaga spoiled freshman pitcher Derek Burkamper’s first career start, knocking him out of the game after three innings. The Bulldogs managed four hits off Nebraska’s bullpen from there, but the 5-0 lead proved to be enough.

Nebraska, which defeated Gonzaga 7-4 Saturday, didn’t break through until the eighth inning when senior Michael Pritchard hit the first home run of his career. The solo blast was one of two hits on the day for Pritchard.

NU added two more runs with two outs in the ninth inning, but still fell short.

“We’ve got to get a lot better,” Erstad said. “There’s no doubt about it. And we will going into next week.”

The Huskers will return to Arizona on Friday for the Pac-12-Big Ten Challenge. They’re set to play No. 2 Oregon State at 2 p.m.

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