It was a magical night for Nebraska. After losing 18-8 earlier this morning, Nebraska used their bullpen advantage and wore down the Michigan Wolverines to advance to the Big Ten championship game with a 7-3 victory.
Kyle Perry started for the Huskers and gave them all Nebraska could ask for. Perry went 3.1 innings for Nebraska and gave up just one run against a Michigan offense that was potent this morning.
Working against Michigan starter Angelo Smith, Nebraska put pressure on him right away. The Huskers put a runner on in each of the first two innings but did not score.
After seeing Smith for the first time, Nebraska put together a rally during the second trip through the lineup. Cam Chick had an infield base hit to get the rally started with two outs in the third. Aaron Palensky followed up with a walk. Angelo Altavilla grounded into a fielder’s choice where Michigan third baseman Blake Nelson was late to the bag to load the bases. Spencer Schwellenbach delivered with a two out two run single to put the Huskers ahead.
The Wolverines got a run back in the third when Perry ran into trouble. He walked Ako Thomas with one out. Thomas then advanced on a grounder to first and scored on a Jesse Franklin single.
Perry would see his day come to a close in the fourth. He allowed a pair of walks sandwiched around a shallow fly ball to start the inning. Ted Silva went to get Robbie Palkert out of the bullpen. Palkert delivered and kept the tying run from scoring.
Altavilla and Schwellenbach teamed up for another run in the fifth inning. With two outs, Altavilla was hit by a pitch and advanced to third via a stolen base and throwing error. Schwellenbach once again delivered a two out RBI single to give the Huskers a two run lead.
The two run lead would not last for Nebraska. Looking to put up a shut down inning, Palkert ran into trouble. The first three Wolverines singled to load the bases with no outs. Palkert hit Jack Blomgren to force in a run. A sacrifice fly from Jimmy Kerr put the go ahead run at third with just one out. On the ropes, Palkert once against answered the call getting a shallow popup before a grounder ended the Michigan threat.
The good news for Nebraska was that the Michigan bullpen finally got tired. Working against a depleted pen, Nebraska regained the lead in the sixth. Walks to Joe Acker and Colby Gomes put a pair of runners on. Jaxon Hallmark delivered with a double to center to plate Acker and give Nebraska a 4-3 lead. After Chick walked, Palensky joined him and forced in another run. Altavilla and Schwellenbach stranded the bases loaded for the Huskers.
Palkert continued to put up zeros while the Nebraska offense continued to add on insurance.
Chick walked again in the eighth inning to put the leadoff runner on. He advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored when Altavilla reached on an error by Thomas. Schwellenbach added a single before two more walks to Luke Roskam and Alex Henwood forced in the seventh Husker run.
Nebraska rode Palkert through both the eighth and the ninth. Robbie pitched a three up three down eighth before allowing a leadoff double in the ninth. Up by four, Nebraska elected to let it ride with Palkert. He rewarded them by getting the next two hitters before walking Jesse Franklin.
[Keith gets on a plane. Jon takes over. The rest of the game is a poof of me abusing Todd in the comments section. Somehow, Nebraska wins. Magically. Maybe. Maybe, mostly because of Robbie Palkert being a monster.]
It’s a final!
Nebraska will play somebody tomorrow for a championship!!!!
Due to the late start of Nebraska and Michigan, the Big Ten announced that Minnesota and Ohio State will play tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. to determine who the Huskers will face. Nebraska and the winner of the Buckeyes and Golden Gophers will face off for the title tomorrow one hour after the conclusion of the other semi final.