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Indiana Claims Big Ten Baseball Title With 8-4 Victory Over Nebraska

In front of 19,965 fans at TD Ameritrade Park, Indiana beat Nebraska 8-4 to win the Big Ten championship. The strong turnout by Husker fans forced officials to gradually open the outfield bleachers prior to the game as more and more fans arrived at the ballpark. For the entire tournament, 61,978 fans were in attendance, which was five times greater than the previous record, set in Columbus, Ohio, and ten times more than the crowd at last year's tournament in Minneapolis.

Despite the huge turnout by Husker fans, it was the Hoosiers' day in the sun. Indiana pounced on Nebraska in the first inning.  All-American catcher Kyle Schwarber and Scott Donley scored on a two-out double by Dustin DeMuth for a 2-0 Hoosier lead.  Will Nolden scored on an Austin Christensen wild pitch in the second inning to put the Hoosiers up 3-0. Nebraska had runners in scoring position in the third and fourth innings, but went 0 for five with runners in scoring position early on.  But in the fifth, the Huskers had loaded the bases when second baseman Casey Rodrique let a Pat Kelly ground ball go through his legs to score two.  Blake Headley grounded out to first baseman Sam Travis, who elected to take the double play, letting the Huskers tie the game at 3-3.

In the bottom of the fifth inning Schwarber launched a rocket into the right field bleachers to put the Hoosiers back up 4-3. Zach Hirsch entered the game on the mound for the Huskers, and Indiana pounced all over him.  With one out and the bases loaded, Tim O'Connor grounded out to short to put Indiana up 5-3.  Casey Rodrique reaches when Steven Reveles boots a grounder, scoring Nolden.  Schwarber singled to right, to put Indiana up 7-3.

Ryan Boldt led off the Husker seventh inning with a double to the warning track. Justin Placzek grounded to short, but Nick Ramos' throw was airmailed off of the railing. Boldt scored, cutting the lead to 7-4.  In the eighth, Nebraska had runners on first and second with two outs, when lightning was detected in the area, forcing a 42 minute delay with two outs.  When play resumed, Boldt had a two-strike count, and tapped back to the pitcher to end the inning.

In the bottom of the eighth, Rodrique drove in Nolden, who had singled to open the inning, to give the Hoosiers an 8-4 lead. Nebraska went quietly in the ninth to finish the game as Indiana celebrated their second straight Big Ten title.

Afterwards, head coach Darin Erstad was mostly positive.

"(I'm) Proud of my boys. We just made too many mistakes."

He went on to praise the Husker fans, who obliterated the Big Ten tournament's attendance records each and every day.

"I won't put anything past Husker Nation...  It's why I moved my family back here, even before I got a coaching job."

He also praised Indiana, who'll undoubtedly be announced as a national seed when the NCAA tournament brackets are revealed.

"I'll put them up against anybody in the country."