Iowa punched first, but Nebraska landed the knockout. The Huskers, behind a large home crowd scored 11 unanswered runs and sent Iowa to an elimination game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers tonight.
Nate Fisher got off to a fast start, working a 1-2-3 first inning on eight pitches. He punched out Austin Martin with a curve to send the Hawkeyes back to the dugout.
After Nebraska stranded a pair of singles in the first, Iowa managed a two out rally against Fisher. Brendan Sher started a rally with a two out infield hit. After Tanner Wetrich walked, Mitchell Boe drove in Sher with a single to left. Fisher loaded the bases when he walked Justin Jenkins. He got Chris Whelan to fly out to Joe Acker in center to keep the score 1-0.
Down 1-0, Nebraska put up a crooked number in the second. Alex Henwood singled and then scored on a Spencer Schwellenbach double into the corner in left. Iowa starter Grant Judkins then lost his control. He walked Colby Gomes and Mojo Hagge to load the bases. Cam Chick would single to put the Huskers ahead 2-1. After a first pitch ball to Aaron Palensky, Iowa went to the bullpen.
Working against new Iowa pitcher Jason Foster, Nebraska found more success. Palensky would single to right to score Gomes. Angelo Altavilla hit a slicing ball down the left field line that was caught by Whelan for a sacrifice fly.
Fisher worked around a single to keep Iowa scoreless in the third.
Nebraska added a run in the home half of the third. Henwood singled for his second hit of the game. Schwellenbach was hit with one out to put a pair on. Hagge walked to bring up Chick with the bases load. He would walk to force in Henwood. With the bases loaded, Palensky checked his swing and grounded into a fielder’s choice.
The Huskers put it out of reach with a four spot in the fifth. Schwellenbach led off the inning with his fourth home run of the season. Gomes scored after he doubled and moved around the bases via a grounder and a sac fly. Palensky started a two out rally when he singled. Three straight walks forced in a run before Gunner Hellstrom added a RBI single. Acker tried to score on Hellstrom’s hit but was thrown out at the plate.
Hellstrom would add another RBI single in the seventh for the Huskers. He scored Altavilla who slid around the tag of Iowa catcher Brett McCleary. Needing just one run to mercy the Hawkeyes, Gomes grounded up to send the game to the eighth inning.
Fisher’s day was done after seven outstanding innings. Jaxon Hallmark came in from the bullpen and threw a scoreless eighth inning for the Huskers.
Up 10-1 and needing just one run to walk off Iowa, the Huskers got a good start to the eighth. Hagge tripled to right center to bring up Chick. Chick hit a sacrifice fly to run rule the Hawkeyes.
Nebraska now awaits the winner of a loser’s bracket game between Maryland and Michigan. The winner of Maryland and Michigan would need to defeat the Huskers twice to advance to Sunday’s Big Ten Championship. First pitch for the Huskers tomorrow morning will be at 9:00 a.m.