Matt Waldron had his best start in a month as Nebraska was able to defeat Michigan 5-2 in the series opener Thursday night at Hawks Field. With the win, Nebraska has cut the deficit to one game in the Big Ten standings.
Michigan struck early against Waldron. The Wolverines got a single, walk, and a double to start the game. Leading 1-0 with runners on second and third, Waldron got a pair of strikeouts before getting a pop-up to minimize the damage.
The Huskers did not score in the first. Mojo Hagge had a single to start the game. Cam Chick lined a ball into the glove of first baseman Jimmy Kerr who stepped on first to kill a rally.
A solo home run from Ako Thomas down the left field line extended the Wolverine lead to 2-0 in the second. Waldron would get out of the inning with a pop-up.
The Huskers rallied in the second against Michigan starter Karl Kauffmann. Luke Roskam and Joe Acker started a rally with a pair of hits. Angelo Altavilla had a fielder’s choice that scored Roskam from third. After a stolen base and a wild pitch, Alex Henwood delivered with a two out RBI single.
The Huskers got a pair of runners on in the fifth inning. Altavilla singled to start the inning before advancing to second on an error that allowed Spencer Schwellenbach to reach. Henwood was able to get a bunt down, but Kauffmann fired to third to get Altavilla for the first out. Colby Gomes flew out before Hagge grounded out to end the Husker threat.
Waldron’s day would come to an end in the seventh. He allowed a one out single before getting a pop-up for the second out of the inning. Nebraska would turn to Robbie Palkert to get the final out of the seventh. Plakert hit Ako Thomas before getting Jordan Nwogu to strikeout.
Altavilla again started an inning getting on base, this time with a walk in the seventh. Schwellenbach was hit by a pitch to bring up Henwood with a chance to redeem himself. Henwood bunted perfectly. His bunt was picked up the third base line by Kauffmann who threw the ball into left field for a two run error.
With a 4-2 lead in the seventh, Nebraska got a sacrifice from Gomes to put Henwood on third. Pinch hitter Gunner Hellstrom struck out before Chick came through with a 2 out RBI single.
Insurance.— Nebraska Baseball (@Husker_Baseball) May 17, 2019
Huskers lead 5-2 in the 7th. pic.twitter.com/4aWiZdGFe2
Palkert and the Huskers posted a quick 1-2-3 inning in the eighth. Robbie got a strikeout, pop-up and another strikeout against the heart of the Michigan lineup.
Gomes came in to pitch the ninth in a save situation. He got a strikeout to start the ninth before walking Jimmy Nelson. Gomes allowed a single to bring up the tying run in the form of Joe Donovan. Gomes went 3-2 on Donovan who hit a bullet to Altavilla at third. Altavilla gloved it, stepped on third, and fired across to first for the double play.
Nebraska and Michigan will now return to the field tomorrow and will play a doubleheader. With predicted weather on Saturday, both teams have decided to play two tomorrow. The Huskers and Wolverines will play one game at 3:00, while game two will be played at 8:02 and will still be televised by the Big Ten Network.