Huskers Rally, Sweep Doubleheader
West Lafayette, Ind. – The Nebraska baseball team (18-19, 10-4 Big Ten) picked up his second doubleheader sweep of the week with a pair of wins over the Purdue Boilermakers (11-24, 4-10 Big Ten) on Saturday at Alexander Field. After taking game one, 10-2, the Huskers rallied late with nine runs over the final two innings in the night cap to win 10-4. Earlier in the week, Nebraska swept a doubleheader from No. 10 Arkansas at Hawks Field.
Freshman Jordan Minch baffled the Huskers for 7.0 innings, giving up one run on four hits and two walks, while striking out a career-high eight. The 6-3 lefty set the Huskers down in order three times on the night allowed a pair of runners in the same inning twice.
Nebraska’s luck changed in the eighth when Brad Schreiber made his first relief appearance of the year after his first nine appearances came in starts.
Schreiber started the inning with a strikeout of Pat Kelly, but then gave up a hit to Michael Pritchard and a walked Chad Christensen, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate in Kash Kalkowski with one down. The Husker first-baseman picked up his fifth RBI of the day with a single to right, and on the play Christensen went 1st-to-3rd to put runners on the corners. Darby stepped in and put pressure on the defense with a bunt, and it paid off, as Schreiber threw the ball into right field, allowing the tying run to score, Kalkowski to move to third and Darby got into scoring position at second. With the game tied, 3-3, Head Coach Darin Erstad looked to his bench and pinch hit senior Josh Scheffert, who delivered a clutch two-RBI single to give Nebraska its first lead of the game, 5-3.
After Dylan Vogt sent the Boilermakers down in order in the bottom of the eighth, Nebraska went right back to scoring runs in the top of ninth with five runs on six hits. With the top of NU’s order up, Rich Sanguinetti singled, Kelly walked and Pritchard laid down a bunt single to load the bases for Christensen. The 6-3 left fielder came through with a 2-RBI single to put the Huskers up four, 7-3. Kalkowski followed with a sacrifice fly for his sixth RBI of the day, before Darby, Taylor Fish and Blake Headley strung together three-straight to score a pair of runs, extending Nebraska’s lead to 10-3.
The Husker rally was made possible by strung outing from Nebraska’s arms. Other than Purdue’s three runs on four hits in the third, the Huskers held the Boilermakers to two hits the rest of the game. Relievers Jeff Chesnut, Vogt and Colton Howell held the Boilermakers hitless over the final 4.0 innings of the game.
After scoring two runs in game one of the doubleheader, the Boilermakers plated three runs in the third inning with four-straight one-out hits. Nebraska starter Aaron Bummer retired leadoff hitter Brandon Krieg with one pitch, before Stephen Talbott produced Purdue’s first hit of the game with a single and then stole second. Jack Amaro followed with a RBI-single and scored himself on a double by Sean McHugh, who homered in game one. Kyle Johnson kept the runs coming with a RBI single, putting Purdue up 3-0. Bummer put an end to the rally with a groundout and a strikeout, his third of the game.
Nebraska tried to answer in the top of the fourth when Michael Pritchard extended his hitting streak to 18 game with a one-out double. Minch didn’t let the two-bagger hurt him, as he retired Christensen with a groundout and after he walked Kalkowski, Minch got Darby to flyout to right with Pritchard stuck at third.
The Huskers finally got on the board in the sixth with a leadoff homer from Rich Sanguinetti, his first of the year. The senior center fielder took the first pitch he saw from Minch and sent it into the NU bullpen behind the right-field wall. Kelly followed with a single, Nebraska’s fourth hit of the game, and the Huskers looked to be in a good position with their 3-4-5 hitters up, but Minch dug in and retired three-straight Huskers to keep the damage to one run.
Nebraska goes for the series sweep tomorrow at 11 a.m. (CT). The game will be streamed live on BTN.com (subscription required), while Greg Sharpe and Lane Grindle will have the call across the Husker Sports Network.