Lincoln - Senior Christian DeLeon finished his first complete game of 2014 with an eight-pitch ninth inning after the Husker offense plated three runs in the bottom of the eighth to power NU to a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over Ohio State (18-11, 2-5 Big Ten) in Friday night’s Big Ten home opener at Hawks Field. Now 17-13 overall and 2-2 in Big Ten play, Friday’s win marked the first time this season the Huskers have rallied to win when trailing after 7.0 innings.
With the Huskers in front 3-2, DeLeon climbed the hill in the ninth to face OSU’s 6-7-8 hitters. The 6-3 righty worked ahead 0-2 on Connor Sabanosh before getting him to pop out to Pat Kelly for the first out of the ninth. Jacob Bosiokovic stepped in and gave the Buckeyes hope with a single on the first pitch he saw. DeLeon continued to throw strikes and got ahead of Nick Sergakis, 0-2. With the tying run on first, DeLeon got Sergakis to swing-and-miss on a nasty breaking ball in the dirt and on the play Bosiokovic tried to take second base, but Tanner Lubach ended the game by throwing out his second OSU runner on the night.
DeLeon went the distance on a career-high 119 pitches, including 82 for strikes to move his record to 3-2 on the year. The Richmond, Texas, native allowed two runs on eight hits with six strikeouts. The impressive outing marked his fourth straight start of over 7.0 innings and he has now gone at least 8.0 innings in three of his last four starts. DeLeon’s complete-game win was the first by a Husker since Tom Lemke threw a 1-0 complete-game shutout against Texas A&M at Hawks Field on May 2, 2010.
With DeLeon keeping the Huskers in the game, Nebraska’s offense finally gave its pitcher some runs in the eighth after hanging zeroes on the board the first seven innings.
Steven Reveles led off the inning and was in a 1-2 hole when reliever Travis Laskins hit the Husker shortstop. Austin Darby then hit a hard ball up the middle and Troy Kuhn was unable to get a handle on the ball, allowing Reveles to move to second base. Ryan Boldt then moved Reveles and Darby both into scoring position with his second sacrifice bunt of the night, setting the table for NU’s 3-and-4 hitters. Senior Michael Pritchard and junior Pat Kelly came through with back-to-back RBI singles that tied the game 2-2. After Blake Headley moved both runners up a base on a 3-1 groundout, Ben Miller stepped to the plate with the go-ahead run 90-feet away. Looking to deliver a line-drive base hit, the freshman instead had to settle for a slow roller off the end of his bat down the third-base line that Laskins couldn’t make a play on, allowing Pritchard to score the eventual game-winning run.
The 3-2 come-from behind win erased a strong outing from Ohio State starter Greg Greve. In 6.0 shutout inning Greve allowed five hits and no walks on 60 pitches, including 42 strikes.
The Buckeyes scored both of their runs on on two-out singles, including a base hit by Kuhn in the fifth and a single by Tim Wetzel in the seventh.
The Huskers and Buckeyes will be back in action tomorrow afternoon, with first pitch scheduled for 2:05 p.m. The game will be carried statewide on NET and streamed live on the Big Ten Digital Network (video.btn.com). Greg Sharpe and Lane Grindle will have the call on the Husker Sports Network, including for free on Huskers.com.