Offense Powers Huskers to 12-9 Win
Omaha, Neb. – The Nebraska baseball team was able to hold on to a 12-9 win on Tuesday night at TD Ameritrade Park, as the Huskers pounded out 16 hits.
Tanner Lubach and Austin Darby each had three hits on the night, while Lubach tied a career high with four RBIs.
Nebraska’s pitching staff allowed just eight hits, but issued a season-high tying 11 walks.
Dylan Vogt and Josh Roeder secured the win down the stretch, as the pair combined to through 3.1 innings of 1-hit ball, while allowing no walks.
The Husker offense busted out of the gate with five runs on five hits to start the game, as all nine starters went to the plate. Rich Sanguinetti led off the game with a double, the fifth time his has doubled in the Huskers’ first at-bat of the game this season. Pat Kelly followed with a single that put runners on the corners. The Jays then cost themselves an out when Michael Pritchard hit a hard RBI grounder at first baseman Reagan Fowler, who tried to turn a double play, but his throw was wide and it pulled Jake Peter off the bag at second. With two on and no out, Chad Christensen laid down a sacrifice bunt that was followed with a two-RBI single from Darby to put the Huskers up 3-0. Darby moved to second on a balk by Creighton starter Matt Warren, to third on a single by Kash Kalkowski and scored on a ground out by Blake Headley. With the Huskers up 4-0 and Kalkowski on second with two down, Lubach delivered NU’s fifth hit of the inning with a single to center that scored Kalkowski. Warren was able to get out of the inning when Wes Edrington grounded out, but not before the Huskers took a 5-0 lead.
The five runs in the first inning tied the most runs given up by the Jays in an inning all-time at TD Ameritrade Park, the fifth time they’ve given up five in an inning at home.
Warren responded by sitting the Huskers down in order in the top of the second and the Jays offense got a run back in the bottom of the inning on a pair of hits. After a two-out single to Michael Blatchford put a pair of Jays on base, NU starter Tyler Niederklein issued back-to-back walks that forced in a run. Niederklein quickly found his rhythm, as he struck out leadoff hitter Brad McKewon looking on three pitches with the bases loaded end the Jays’ rally.
Nebraska got the run back in the top of the third and added a run, knocking Warren out of the game in the process. With Darby and Kalkowski each in scoring position, Lubach came through with his second single of the game that plated both of his teammates to put Nebraska ahead, 7-1. Taylor Elman took over for Warren and gave up a single to Edrington, but then retired Sanguinetti to end NU’s third.
The Huskers put two more runs on the board in the fifth to take a 9-1 lead. Darby led off the inning with his third hit of the game and Kalkowski was hit-by-pitch for the 19th time this season. Headley laid down a bunt-base hit, and on the play third-baseman Federico Castagnini threw the ball wide of first, allowing Darby to score. Later, Bryan Peters pinch hit and blasted a ball into the left-center field gap where left fielder Blatchford made a diving catch, but Kalkowski was easily able to coast home on the sacrifice fly.
Creighton got back in the game in the fifth with four runs on a two hits, cutting Nebraska’s lead to 9-5. With Colton Howell on the mound, the freshman issued three straight two-out walks that forced in a pair of runs. Ryan Hander came in and gave up a double to Ryan Fitzgerald and the Jays tried to clear the bases, but Christensen picked up his eight assist of the year, as the left fielder made a 7-6-2 relay that cut down Blatchford at the plate to end the fifth inning.
The Jays continued to chip away at the Husker lead in the sixth, adding three runs, including two runs on a blast off the bat of Castagnini. It was the junior’s first career home run and cut Nebraska’s lead to 9-7. Luke Bublitz came in and got the first Jay he faced, but then gave up a walk and a single, followed by two straight walks that plated CU’s third run of the inning. Vogt took the mound with the bases load and got a fly out off the bat of Fitzgerald, leaving the bases loaded the second time in the game.
Nebraska’s bats gave their pitching staff some breathing room with a pair of runs in the top of the seventh on two hits. Lubach picked up his fourth RBI of the night with a double that scored Headley, who led off the inning with a walk. Lubach then scored when he moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Peters and to home on a sacrifice fly from Sanguinetti, increasing NU’s lead to 11-8.
Vogt came out in the bottom of the seventh and sent the Jays down in order, the first time the Huskers had retired the Jays 1-2-3 since the first inning.
Nebraska gave back a run in the bottom of the ninth on an error with two outs. With runners on the corners and two down, Blachtford hit a ball to Peters at short and Jake Placzek was unable to handle the throw at second, which allowed Peters to score after he led off the inning with a triple. Vogt came back and got another ground ball, which Placzek ate up and threw to Kalkowski at first to retire the Jays with the tying runs on base.
Creighton gave the ball to Nick Highberger to start the ninth and the retired the first two Huskers he faced. Sanguinetti then laced a single up the middle and stole second to put himself in scoring position. Placzek, who had doubled earlier in the game, delivered the first multi-hit game of his career with a single to center field that scored Sanguinetti, putting the Huskers up three, 12-9, heading to the bottom of the ninth.
Roeder came on and retired the Jays in order to pick up his fourth save of the season.
Nebraska wraps the regular season with a three-game conference series against the Michigan Wolverines, starting on Thursday at 6:35 p.m. The series continues on Friday at 6:35 p.m. and wraps up on Saturday with Senior Day at 12:05 p.m.