Jordan Richartz struck out with the tying run on second base and Hawaii’s ninth-inning rally came up just short in a 4-3 loss to Nebraska on Saturday in the Houston College Classic at Minute Maid Park.
The Cornhuskers (7-5) took a 4-0 lead into the ninth when Hawaii (6-9) scored three runs on a two-out bases clearing double by J.J. Kitaoka off Nebraska closer Josh Roeder, who gave up three hits and a walk.
Colton Howell replaced Roeder and intentionally walked Eric Ramirez after falling behind 3-0 before getting the strikeout of Richartz, who had doubled earlier in the game.
Jacob Sheldon-Collins had three hits and Alex Sawelson singled twice and scored a run for UH.
Tyler Brashears (2-2) was credited with the loss despite not giving up an earned run in seven innings. Brashears allowed seven hits and one walk with two strikeouts.
Nebraska took a 2-0 lead with two outs in the fifth inning when Kitaoka, filling in for injured senior Stephen Ventimilia, booted a grounder at second that would have ended the inning. Instead, it allowed two runs to score.
Nebraska (7-5) added two more runs in the eighth inning off reliever Andrew Jones, which proved to be the difference.
UH left three on base in the first inning and had the bases loaded in the fifth inning when both Kitaoka and Ramirez struck out. Kaeo Aliviado drew a one-out walk to put the tying run on base in the seventh, forcing Nebraska to take out starter Kyle Kubat (2-0).
Jeff Chesnut came on in relief and got Kitaoka to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Hawaii will finish the tournament on Sunday against No. 13 Houston. First pitch is 1:05 p.m. Hawaii time.