May 17-19th, 2019 was the last time Minnesota had won a Big Ten Baseball series. They finally broke the streak Sunday, and in doing so may have all but ended the chance of Nebraska, the preseason favorite to win the conference, to even make the conference tournament.
There is still a mathematical chance of reaching that tournament, which would be an accomplishment this season. Nebraska will first need to hold up its end of the bargain, with a series against 4th place Illinois, a team that rarely beats itself with one of the best offenses and defenses in the conference, followed by Michigan State, a series the Huskers will probably need to sweep at that point in time.
Then the watching of the Purdue and Northwestern teams will commence. The two teams currently in between Nebraska and a B1G Tournament berth play each other next week, and followed by Purdue finishing with 2nd place Maryland, while NW takes on a red hot (see what I did there?) Minnesota. Purdue taking the series before being swept by Maryland would probably be the best case scenario.
Game recap? You really want a game recap? I guess I owe you one if you’ve read this far. Jackson Brockett took the mound for the Huskers, and had one of the best days in his young NU career. He would set a career high with 7 strikeouts, while only allowing 1 run in a career high tying 5.1 innings. That would be in the 4th, where Minnesota took a brief 1-0 lead off of a double followed closely by an RBI sacrifice fly.
Nebraska would answer quickly and tie the game in the top of the 5th. Core Jackson drilled a double to right field and swiped third base. Gabe Swansen brought him in with a double of his own off of the wall. Counting the last 5 innings of the overtime thriller from Saturday, and the entirety of the game Sunday, this would be the only run scored over 14 innings against what was one of the worst pitching staffs, in terms of ERA, in the country.
Minnesota would take the lead for good, with a 2 out solo home run from Noah Berghammer, his first of the year, in the 7th inning, off of Dawson McCarville giving him the loss. The Gophers manufactured another run in the 8th, to bring us to the final score of 3-1. Nebraska brought the tying run to the plate in the 9th, but a game ending double play gave Minnesota the series win.
This writer is never one to lump all the woes across multiple sports or an entire athletic department, but it was hard not to think of all the expectations building prior to all the seasons in the big 3 men’s sports this season, none bigger than baseball, and have them all come crumbing down at various points in the season. This may not have been the final nail in the season, but with the circumstances being what they were, it may have been the biggest.
With finals week this week, the baseball team is off until they travel to Champaign to take on Illinois for a three game series starting Friday, May 13th.