After splitting mid-week games against Creighton and Kansas State this week, the Nebraska Cornhusker Baseball team head up north to Minneapolis and Siebert Field to take on the Golden Gophers of Minnesota.
With league leading Indiana taking on Morehead State this weekend, the Huskers had to win the series to keep pace with the Hoosiers and move up from being 4th in the league.
The weekend started well as Nebraska sped out to a 5-0 lead behind HR’s from Michael Pritchard and Ben Miller. However, the Huskers needed a couple of runs in the 9th inning off of Gopher closer Dalton Sawyer to ice the game 8-6.
The Huskers did big damage as all of their 8 runs and 10 of the team’s 13 total hits came with two outs.
Chance Sinclair did pitch well for a win, but was not the pitcher of record after Minny tied the game up at 6 in the 7th inning. Sinclair did go 5+ innings before Zach Hirsch got it to the 9th, only giving up 1 run in 2 innings. Josh Roeder got the save, his 6th of the year.
While most Husker fans were going kitty crazy over the Spring Game, Christian DeLeon went the full distance for the Huskers in a 5-2 victory, securing the weekend set for Big Red.
DeLeon became the first Husker pitcher with back to back complete games since Erik Bird did the feat back in 2009 against New Mexico and Baylor. Scattering 4 hits, Christian only faced 5 over the minimum and struck out four.
Offensively, after Minnesota got a run in the 2nd off of a Bobby Juan solo HR, Nebraska got a 3 run 4th inning off of a sacrifice fly from Austin Darby and a Blake Headley 2 RBI single that scored Pritchard and Ty Kildow. In the 9th inning, Ryan Boldt snapped a 0-9 hitting slump with a RBI double that scored Steven Reveles, and Boldt was drove home by a Jake Placzek RBI single. DeLeon did give up a run in the 9th, but did record the final outs.
As many of you saw on the Big Ten Network Sunday, it took some free baseball as Steven Reveles knocked in Ty Kildow with 2 outs in the top of the 10th as the Huskers used a great performance from Aaron Bummer and another save by Josh Roeder to get the 3-2 win and sweep Goldy.
Ryan Boldt started the game off with a single off of Minnesota starter Ben Meyer, and two batters later Pritchard sent Boldt from corner to corner with a base hit. Pat Kelly shipped a sac fly to Centerfield to make it 1-0 Nebraska.
Minnesota did take a 2-1 lead in the fifth inning, as Bummer got in trouble and Tony Skjefte popped a questionable double down the left field line to give Goldy the lead.
However, the Huskers got the run right back in the top of the 7th as the bases got loaded in front of Pritchard, who sent another sad fly to tie the game at 2, but that’s all the damage the Huskers got, as Kildow flew out to right with the bases loaded.
Bummer’s 7 innings were followed by 3 one-inning, scoreless efforts from Bob Grego, Austin Christensen and Zach Hirsch. Christensen was the pitcher of record after hurling a scoreless ninth. Roeder finished the 10th in order to get his 7th save.
With the sweep, the Huskers move to 2nd place in the B1G Conference standings, just one game out of the Hoosiers lead.
Coming up this week for Nebraska is a rematch with Kansas State Tuesday night at Hawks Field (on BTN mind you!) and a meeting with Nebraska-Omaha, the first time the Huskers and Mavs have met since the move by UNO to D1. Both games are slated for a 6:35 start.
B1G Baseball Standings (through April 13, 2014)
1. Indiana 8-1 .889 21-11 .656
2. Nebraska 7-2 .778 23-14 .622
3. Illinois 6-3 .667 18-13 .581
4. Penn State 5-3 .625 17-16 .515
5. Michigan State 5-4 .556 20-13 .606
6. Michigan 6-6 .500 16-19-1 .458
7. Iowa 5-7 .417 20-13 .606
Minnesota 5-7 .417 17-14 .548
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9. Ohio State 4-8 .333 21-15 .583
10. Purdue 3-6 .333 7-24 .226
11. Northwestern 2-9 .182 6-24 .200