Lincoln - With a runner in scoring position and one out in the bottom of the ninth, the Nebraska baseball team was unable to capitalize with a potential game-tying hit in a 3-2 decision in game one of a Saturday doubleheader against Northwestern at Hawks Field. The Huskers have dropped the first two games of the three-game series with the Wildcats.
The Wildcats’ starting pitcher Brandon Magallones completed 8.0 strong innings of work with seven strikeouts while allowing eight hits and three walks along with a pair of runs on 118 pitches (74 strikes). Magallones’ victory is his first of the year and improves his record to 1-5. Northwestern reliever Jeff Quigley pitched a scoreless ninth for his third save of the year after the Huskers’ bottom of the ninth comeback fell short.
Nebraska’s junior starting pitcher Chance Sinclair registered a quality start and tied his career-high with five strikeouts, a feat he has achieved on four occasions this season. Sinclair threw 106 pitches, including 71 for strikes, and lasted 7.0 innings in the no decision. The NU offense was paced by junior first baseman Blake Headley who now has multiple hits in five of his last seven outings after a 2-for-3 showing in game one.
The Huskers, now 25-16 overall and 7-4 in the Big Ten, broke the stalemate in the fourth when Jake Placzek started the inning with a walk and eventually took second on a wild pitch. After advancing to third on a ground out, Pat Kelly recorded his 100th career RBI after placing a 1-2 pitch through the left side of the infield to give the Big Red a 1-0 edge through four innings.
In the away-half of the sixth, Northwestern worked a leadoff walk to start the frame. The designated hitter, Jack Livingston, followed with a 0-1 fly ball to deep left center field and down for an RBI double as Zach Jones came in to knot the contest. After a two-out hit kept the inning alive for the Wildcats, Jake Straub guided a 2-2 offering through the left side to drive in Joe Hoscheit for the 2-1 advantage.
An Austin Darby leadoff double and a perfectly executed Christian Cox bunt for a hit gave the Huskers life with runners on the corners and nobody out in the bottom of the seventh. With the bases loaded after a Reveles free pass, Headley lined the first pitch back to the Northwestern pitcher who made the shoestring grab and threw out the runner at third. Taylor Fish then pounded a 2-1 pitch opposite field as Christian Cox came home to score tie the contest 2-2 after seven innings.
Northwestern, who improves to 10-24 overall and 4-9 in the conference, responded quickly in the eighth to take a 3-2 edge. After a walk and a bunt got the inning started, Matt Hopfner tallied the go-ahead run on a Straub ground ball fielder’s choice RBI gave the Wildcats the lead. Northwestern registered 11 hits on the afternoon compared to eight for Nebraska. Jones, Hopfner and Hoscheit all tallied two hits each in the victory despite three errors for the Wildcats.
The Huskers and Wildcats will wrap up the weekend with game two of today's doubleheader at roughly 3:50 p.m.