Going into the weekend, the Nebraska Cornhusker Baseball team were licking their chops from losing a weekend series at Haymarket Park to the B1G last place Northwestern Wildcats. Having no mid-week games to worry about, the Huskers headed up to Ann Arbor, Michigan to take on the Wolverines.
The fourth inning was the key for the Husker offense as they scored all their runs in that frame, and closer Zack Hirsch held off a 9th inning Blue rally for the opening win, 6-4, on Friday evening.
In that plentiful fourth, Nebraska sent 10 men to the plate and had six hits, including 3 doubles. Ty Kildow kicked off the scoring by roping the first double of the inning, plating Steven Reveles. Austin Darby scored on a Taylor Fish single, but Kildow was nailed at home on a attempted sacrifice squeeze by Ryan Boldt. After Jake Placzek got a walk that loaded up the bases, Michael Pritchard started the carnival with a bases clearing double to the left field gap. Scoring was completed for the inning (and game) with a Pat Kelly double that plated Pritchard.
Christian DeLeon only went 5 1/3 innings, but did enough to get another win by giving up one run. Bob Greco came in to silence the bats for the Wolverines, but had trouble in the ninth allowing a single & double to start the frame. Hirsch then made an appearance and even though he allowed both inherited runners to score, closed out the Wolverines to get the save.
Saturday afternoon saw both teams get a run in the first inning, but Nebraska prevailed with 2 runs in the eighth inning and got 1 2/3 of perfect bullpen work to take the game 3-1 and clinch the series.
In the eight inning, Pat Kelly started the party with a double, followed by a Blake Headley sacrifice bunt and Reveles sacrifice fly that scored Kelly. Nebraska kept the gas going with 2 outs, getting singles from Austin Darby, PH Ben Miller and Fish, with Darby scoring on the Fish hit.
Chance Sinclair went 7 1/3 of 1 run, 6 hit pitching to get the win. Hirsch came in with 1 out in the 8th to get out of a jam. Josh Roeder came in the ninth inning to get the save and the series win.
The Huskers' 7 game road winning streak came to a end on Sunday, as Michigan got 3 unearned runs in the first inning and never trailed in a 7-5 victory.
Nebraska's bats got chilly in the final game, only getting 4 hits total on the day. Pat Kelly was the brightspot for the Nebraska offense in the game, scoring twice and driving in 4 runs total on the day.
Aaron Bummer took the loss for Big Red, as he went 5 1/3 innings and allowed 6 runs, 4 hits and 5 walks in his outing. Austin Christensen and Jake Hohensee did their part out of the bullpen, allowing a run and 3 hits in nearly 3 innings of work.
The total attendance for all three games at the Wilpon Complex this weekend. was 2,138. Friday had 619, Saturday was the big day with 857 fans, and Sunday had 662 paid. To compare, Nebraska has averaged 2,783 per game this season.
The Huskers' RPI did grow back up to 42nd nationally after the weekend. The strength of schedule has gone up to 67th also. This was worrysome after the sweep last weekend, but there is time to grow this before the end of the season. League leading Indiana's RPI is 2nd in America, but the B1G itself is at 10th in the conferences.
Nebraska gets back at it on Tuesday, heading to TD Ameritrade Park to take on Creighton. Wednesday, you Omaha folks can watch your Big Red again locally as they take on UNO at Werner Park. Both games have 6:30 first pitches.
Big Ten Baseball Standings:
1. Indiana 13-2 .867 28-12 .700
2. Nebraska 10-5 .667 28-17 .622
Illinois 10-5 .667 23-17 .575
4. Michigan State 8-7 .533 24-17 .585
5. Minnesota 9-9 .500 22-16 .579
Michigan 9-9 .500 19-24-1 .443
7. Iowa 7-8 .467 25-15 .625
8. Ohio State 6-9 .400 25-19 .568
9. Penn State 5-9 .357 17-23 .425
10. Purdue 5-10 .333 11-29 .275
11. Northwestern 4-13 .235 12-28 .300
Through games of April 27