Lincoln, NE- Nebraska has won their first conference series of the year. The Huskers used stellar pitching from Matt Warren, and a big rally in the fifth inning to get to their sixth conference win of the year by defeating the Maryland Terrapins 5-2.
After the visiting Terrapins and Huskers had a slugfest in both of the first two games, the teams traded zeros for the first three innings. Warren, who has had trouble after starting fast was the recipient of three double plays to help keep Maryland scoreless.
While Warren was dealing, Maryland starter Taylor Bloom got the first ten batters of the game down in order. Scott Schreiber broke up the perfect game in the fourth inning with a solo home run into the bullpen in right to break the scoreless tie.
Schreiber turned a unassisted double play in the fifth inning to keep the momentum on the Huskers side.
For the Huskers in the fifth inning, the first four batters reached. Jaxon Hallmark singled to start the inning. Alex Henwood ripped a double off of the glove of left fielder Marty Costes to put two in scoring position for Ben Klenke. Klenke plugged the gap in left field for a double, before Mojo Hagge singled to put runners at the corners. Jesse Wilkening followed with a sacrifice fly to get the Nebraska lead to 4-0.
With a 4-0 lead, Nebraska looked to be in trouble in the eighth inning. Maryland managed to load the bases with just one out. With Kevin Biondic at the plate, Nebraska brought in Jake Hohensee to try and get the last five outs. Biondic would take a 2-2 pitch and line it to Luke Roskam at third base, who stepped on the bag for an unassisted double play.
Nebraska loaded the bases in the bottom half of the inning, and stretched the lead to 5-0 when Carter Cross hit a sacrifice fly to score Angelo Altavilla who had walked.
Hohensee worked the ninth and allowed a pair of hits and a walk that led to a pair of runs scoring. AJ Lee struck out with two outs to end the game and clinch the first series victory in Big Ten play for Nebraska.
Nebraska gains a half game on Michigan State in the race for eighth place in the Big Ten standings. Nebraska now sits 1.5 games out of the Big Ten Tournament. With Michigan State and Rutgers ahead of Nebraska in the race for the final spot, Nebraska needs to most likely go 4-2 to make the Big Ten Tournament.
Nebraska has remaining Big Ten games against both Indiana and Illinois. Indiana and Illinois are both currently safely in the Big Ten Tournament but have taken advantage of beating up on cellar dweller Northwestern (6-0 combined). If the Huskers swept Indiana next weekend, Nebraska would jump into the eighth position, and potentially up to sixth. Nebraska is still firmly alive in the Big Ten Tournament discussion.