The Nebraska Cornhuskers started off a big time series with the Michigan State Spartans on Saturday, and Derek Burkamper & Ryan Boldt took charge to lead off the series well for Nebraska.
Behind a 3 for 4 day by Boldt and a fairly solid 5+ inning performance from Burkamper, the Huskers scored a lot early and took game 1 of a big set at McLane Stadium in East Lansing with a victory over MSU Saturday in front of a crowd of 793.
The game started off well for Nebraska in the top of the 1st, when Ryan Boldt singled for the first baserunner of the game with 1 out on MSU starter Ethan Landon. Boldt scored on a Jake Meyers double to right-center. Meyers scored himself on the next batter as Ben Miller drove him in with a single to left-center field to make it 2-0 Huskers after one half inning.
Sparty answered back in the bottom of the 2nd, when Matt Byars doubled off of Nebraska starter Derek Burkamper, then went to 3rd base on a wild pitch. Burkamper almost got out of the inning by retiring the next 2 batters, but Dan Chmielewski reached on a Jack Placzek error at 3rd base. No other damage in the inning, however, so after 2, it was 2-1 Huskers.
Nebraska increased the lead back in the next half-inning, when Ben Miller & Scott Schreiber got on base via walk & HBP. They were both advanced by a groundout by Luis Alvarado. Miller scored then on a groundout to 3rd base to make it 3-1 Huskers after 2 and 1/2 innings.
Husker Baseball added to that lead in their half of the 5th when Steven Reveles cashed in on Schreiber and Alvarado getting on base. Reveles caught a 2 out single to center, scoring Alvarado after Schreiber was forced out before hand. Placzek scored Jesse Wilkening on the next AB with a single, then Alvarado scored on a throwing error, making it 6-1 Huskers. After Walter Borkovich came in for MSU to relieve Landon, he got Jake Meyers to fly out to right, ending the scoring threat.
Michigan State got one back in the bottom of the 6th with a Dan Durkin Home Run to left-center, but no other scoring in the frame put it to 6-2 Nebraska.
Sparty made their biggest threat in the bottom of the 8th, when off of three different Husker pitchers (Garrett King, Jake McSteen, Reece Eddins), MSU loaded the bases. Chad Luensmann came into the game with a 2-0 count on Zack McQuire and induced a 4-6-3 Double Play which scored a run. Marty Bechina decided to lineout to Reveles to end the threat with only one run scored to make it 6-3 Huskers.
MSU would get a runner to 3rd in the 9th inning, but Luensmann shut the door, earning his 10th save of the season.
Michigan State starter Ethan Landon takes the loss to open the set, giving up 6 runs (3 earned) and 8 hits in 4.2 innings pitched. Nebraska's Derek Burkamper takes the victory today, going 5.1 innings, and only giving up 4 hits and giving up 2 runs, 1 of those earned.
Husker reliever Jeff Chestnut, who came in for Burkamper in the 6th, tied a school record with his 87th career appearance for Nebraska Baseball. Chestnut tied the record set by Jeff Hale from 1999-2003.
Sparty's glaring stat of the day: 4 errors that led to 3 Nebraska runs, all scored off of Landon. Dan Durkin did have a good day for Michigan State, however, going 2-3 with the solo HR off of Burkamper plus a walk.
The Huskers will go for win #30 of the season on Sunday by taking the field for game 2 of the set with MSU. First pitch is scheduled for 12:05 central with Matt Waldron taking the hill for Nebraska. The Spartans will counter with Joe Mockbee plugging in the battery for the home side.