Huskers Sweep Wildcats, Now 5-1 in Big Ten Play
Lincoln - The Nebraska baseball team (11-15) improved to 5-1 in Big Ten play with an 8-6 win on Sunday afternoon at Hawks Field, completing a three-game sweep of the Northwestern Wildcats (10-9, 2-4 Big Ten).
The Huskers pounded out 14 hits in the series finale, bringing their weekend total to 52 hits off of Wildcat pitching. Nebraska also took advantage of seven Wildcat errors on the day. The Wildcats committed 12 errors in the series.
Pat Kelly came through with four hits for the second straight game, ending the day 4-for-5 with season-high four RBIs. Rich Sanguinetti was close behind with a 3-for-5 day at the plate, including a pair of doubles, the second two-double game of his career.
Northwestern sent sophomore Brandon Magallones to the mound, who shut down the Huskers on the road last season. Nebraska’s offense jumped on the 6-4 righty with three runs on seven hits in the first two innings. Magallones last 5.2 innings, giving up five runs (three earned), on 11 hits and one walk, while striking out four.
Last season in Evanston, Magallones dominated the Huskers in an 8-4 Wildcat win with 10 strikeouts, giving up three runs on four hits over 8.0 innings to improve to 5-0 on the year.
On the mound for Nebraska, senior Tyler Niederklein made his first conference start of the season and gave the Huskers 4.0 strong inning. The Omaha native gave up one run one on three hits and a walk.
Michael Hoppes relieved Niederklein to start the fifth and struggled, giving up three runs on one hit, while getting only one out, but Zach Hirsch came in and picked up his teammate.
After throwing a pair of shutout innings in Friday’s 16-inning win, the junior lefty came through with 2.2 innings of shutout relief on four strikeouts.
The turning point in the game came in the seventh, with the Huskers holding onto a one-run lead, 5-4. After reliever and Friday night starter Zach Morton struck out Kash Kalkowski to lead off the inning, Blake Headley reach on a single. Tanner Lubach then grounded a possible inning-ending double play ball to Trevor Stevens at short, but second baseman Antonio Freschet drop the ball at second, putting a pair of Huskers on with one out. Bryan Peters stepped up and hit a hard grounder to third, where Kyle Ruchim booted the ball, loading the bases for top of Nebraska’s lineup. Rich Sanguinetti came through with an RBI groundout to the right side of the infield and Pat Kelly followed with a two-RBI single that pushed Nebraska’s lead to 8-4.
Dylan Vogt took the mound for Nebraska in the eighth and threw well, but the Husker defensive gave back two unearned runs with two errors of their own.
Vogt started the ninth with a groundout, before Ruchim reached on an error by Blake Headley at third base, the Huskers’ season-high third error of the game. Vogt battled back and struck out Morton, the Wildcats’ No. 3 hitter, and got Jack Havey to ground into a fielder’s choice to complete the sweep.
The Huskers will next be in action on Tuesday night, when they head to Manhattan, Kan., for a 6:35 p.m. meeting with the Kansas State Wildcats on Fox Sports Midwest. It will be the second game of a three-game season series between the two squads, with game three scheduled for April 23 at Hawks Field. Greg Sharpe and Jeff Culhane will have the call on the Husker Sports Network.