The Nebraska baseball team (23-15, 12-5 Big Ten) used a walk-off single by Joe Acker to even the series against the Illinois Illini (27-14, 7-7 Big Ten). Robbie Palkert pitched three scoreless innings while picking up the win for the Huskers.
Nebraska sent Nate Fisher to the mound. Illinois got to Fisher early, as the Illini scored two runs in the first inning. Fisher gave up three hits, a walk, and a sacrifice fly in the first as Illinois jumped out to a 2-0 lead.
Spencer Schwellenbach and Luke Roskam each had a hit in the first inning for the Huskers. Cam Chick grounded into an inning ending double play. Replay showed that Chick had beat out the double play, but the play was not reviewable.
Oooouuuuutttt.#Illini 2, Nebraska 0 | END 1 pic.twitter.com/8uUoRuBLm1— Illinois Baseball (@IlliniBaseball) April 27, 2019
Working against Illinois starter Ty Weber, Nebraska loaded the bases in the second. The Huskers drew three straight walks from Acker, Angelo Altavilla, and Mojo Hagge. Colby Gomes would get a sacrifice fly to cut the deficit to 2-1. A squeeze play was unsuccessful, before Aaron Palensky lined out for the third out of the inning.
Illinois got the run back in the third. Fisher gave up a solo home run to Zac Taylor, his seventh of the year.
After Fisher stranded runners on second and third with one out in the fourth, Nebraska continued the momentum in their half of the fourth. Gomes doubled and scored when Palensky got a two out hit. With the tying run at second, Roskam grounded out.
Fisher would end his day with a double play in the sixth. Palkert came on in the seventh and worked a quick 1-2-3 inning.
The Huskers tied the contest at three in the seventh. Jaxon Hallmark pinch hit for Roskam and drew a walk. After a walk to Chick, Acker laid down a sacrifice bunt to put runners on second and third. A sacrifice fly from Altavila scored Hallmark and put the go ahead run at third. Hagge struck out to end the inning.
After Palkert worked a 1-2-3 inning in both the eighth and the ninth, the Huskers had a chance to walk off.
Palensky was hit by the first pitch of the inning from Illini reliever Quinten Sefcik. Hallmark moved Palensky to second before Chick walked. Acker would work a 3-2 count and take an offspeed pitch to left field for the winning hit.
@joeacker5— Nebraska Baseball (@Husker_Baseball) April 27, 2019
Walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 9th to give Nebraska a 4-3 win. ⚾️ #GBR pic.twitter.com/GaJKQEbMWa
Nebraska picks up a huge win over an Illinois team that had won five straight. Nebraska also now has a chance to pick up a series win over a team who would qualify as a quadrant one win. Nebraska and Illinois play the rubber match tomorrow with first pitch scheduled for 12:05.