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Nebraska Baseball Splits Doubleheader With Minnesota

The play of the series. Minnesota’s Riley Smith scores as Nebraska pitcher Shay Schanaman tries unsuccessfully to defend home plate.
Jon Johnston

The Nebraska baseball team (13-9, 4-2 Big Ten) split a doubleheader with the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Sunday afternoon. The Huskers took the first game with a 10-1 victory, while Minnesota was able to secure the series finale with a 3-2 score.

In game one, Nebraska got another outstanding start from Nate Fisher. Fisher would throw 8.0 innings of one run baseball. Both Fisher and Friday starter Matt Waldron went 8.0 innings against a Gopher team predicted to finish in the top half of the Big Ten standings.

Before Fisher even took the mound, Nebraska gave him all the runs he would need. Joe Acker would reach via a one out walk. After he stole second, he scored on a base hit from Gunner Hellstrom. Luke Roskam would launch a home run to extend the Husker lead to 3-0.

The lead grew to 6-0 for Nebraska in the fourth inning. Angelo Altavilla and Colby Gomes reached via a walk and an infield base hit to start the inning. Jaxon Hallmark replaced Altavilla on the bases via a fielders choice. After a ground ball moved up Gomes and Hallmark, Acker came through with a 2 RBI single for the Huskers. A single and a pair of passed balls allowed Acker to score to make it 6-0.

Fisher would give up his only run of the day in the fifth. Jordan Kozicky tagged a ball to left field for a solo home run to cut the Husker lead to 6-1. After a single, Fisher got the next three hitters to retire the side.

In the seventh, the Huskers tacked on another pair of runs. Minnesota helped the Huskers by giving up four free bases. Hellstrom walked to start the inning, Roskam was hit by a pitch, and Cam Chick walked to load the bases. Altavilla walked to force in Hellstrom. Hallmark singled to score Roskam and stretch the lead to 8-1.

With a seven run lead, Fisher would get the Gophers in order in both the seventh and eighth innings.

Nebraska got more insurance in the ninth. Hagge tacked on a two run home run that ended up on the softball field of Minnesota. The absolute moonshot extend the lead to 10-1.

Mike Waldron would take over for Fisher in the ninth inning. He worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning to give the Huskers their fourth league victory of the season.

After a short break, Nebraska and Minnesota were back on the diamond for the series deciding finale.

Nebraska wasted no time taking a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Aaron Palensky reached on an error with two outs. After Hellstrom singled to put a pair on, Roskam came through with a two RBI double to left center.

Minnesota answered back in the home half of the first. The first two would reach against Senior starter Reece Eddins. A sacrifice bunt and a strikeout would bring Eddins within one pitch of getting out of the inning. Unfortunately for the Huskers, Kozicky had other plans as he singled through the left side to tie the game up.

Nebraska and Minnesota would trade zeros. Each team had chances, but the Gophers got timely strikeouts, while the Huskers had the help of a trio of double plays to prevent any runs.

Eddins would finish his day with seven quality innings. He allowed just two runs on seven hits. He would strike out seven Gophers while only allowing one walk.

In the ninth inning, Nebraska got the go ahead run to third base. Hagge would strike out to end the threat.

Shay Schanaman would stay in the game for the Huskers. Schanaman pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning. Schanaman would walk Eli Wilson. The Gophers traded an out to move Wilson to second base. Schanaman would then get a strikeout, but a wild pitch allowed the runner to reach third. The Huskers would load the bases with an intentional walk to give them a force out at any base. Another strikeout combined with a wild pitch allowed the Gophers to walk off and win the series.

This one hurts for Nebraska. They got three outstanding starting pitching efforts, only to have the bullpen be unable to get the win. Nebraska continues on their five game road trip to take on Kansas State in a midweek contest. First pitch is set for Tuesday at 6:00 p.m.