Lincoln – Sophomore Kyle Kubat improved to 4-0 on the mound, while Chad Christensen and Pat Kelly each had a pair of hits and a RBI in a 3-2 win over the No. 16 Indiana Hoosiers (35-9, 12-5 Big Ten) on Sunday afternoon at Hawks Field. The Huskers are now 21-24 overall on the year, but 12-5 during league play.
The NU win evened the three-game series between the two teams, who are now tied for second place in the Big Ten Conference. Minnesota, who lost on Sunday at Penn State, sits in first place with a 12-4 record.
Nebraska dealt Kyle Hart his first loss of the season, as the lefty fell to 7-1 on the year. The sophomore from Cincinnati, Ohio, lasted just 5.1 innings, giving up three runs (one earned) on seven hits and five walks.
Kubat picked up his fourth win in his fourth start of the season, giving the Huskers 7.2 innings on a career-high 104 pitches. The Waterloo, Neb., native gave up a pair of runs on five hits and two walks, while striking out two. The sophomore lefty retired the first seven Hoosiers he faced, before Chad Clark laced a single into left field with one out in the third, but was cleared on the play when he was thrown out at second base by Christensen.
Kubat got out of a pair of bases-loaded jams in both the fourth and fifth innings, but then retired the Hoosiers in order in the sixth and seventh.
In the sixth, Christensen made a highlight-reel catch on a fly ball off the bat of Michael Basil. Running full speed, Christensen jumped into the wall to make the catch, taking away extra bases from the Indiana left-fielder.
With a pair of runners on and two outs in the eighth, Head Coach Darin Erstad turned the ball over to Dylan Vogt with the Huskers ahead, 3-0. Vogt gave up a pair of singles that scored two runs, before retiring Casey Smith to keep the Huskers in front, 3-2.
Sophomore Josh Roeder, a right-handed pitcher, took the mound in the top of the ninth, where Indiana Head Coach Tracy Smith sent three left-handed pinch hitters to the plate. Roeder struck out Will Nolden looking, got Ricky Alfonso to foul out and induced a lazy fly to left field off the bat of Trace Knoblauch to secure the win with his third save of the year.
Christensen drove in the first run of the game in the bottom of the first on with a single. With Kelly on third, who reached on a one-out single, Christensen laced the ball back at Hart. The lefty got a glove on the ball to knock it down, but no one was able to make a play on the infield single.
The Huskers took advantage of a walk and a two-base error in the second, one of four Indiana errors on the day. After Rich Sanguinetti walked with two outs, Clark tried pick off Sanguinetti, home to first, but instead threw the ball into right field, allowing Sanguinetti to coast to third base. Kelly made the Hoosiers pay with an RBI single, pushing NU’s lead to 2-0.
Hart cost himself the eventual game winning run in the fifth when he issued three straight two-out walks. With Michael Pritchard on first, who earlier singled with one down, Hart walked Kash Kalkowski, Blake Headley and Tanner Lubach to force in Nebraska’s third run of the game.
The Huskers and Hoosier play the rubber match of the three-game series tomorrow at Hawks Field, with first pitch set for 12:05 p.m. Nebraska’s Aaron Bummer is scheduled to battle Indiana’s Aaron Slegers. Greg Sharpe and Lane Grindle will have the call across the Husker Sports Network, while the game will also be video streamed on HuskersNSide (subscription required).