Lincoln - The Nebraska baseball team forced extra innings with a two-out, ninth-inning rally on Saturday against Ohio State, but the Buckeyes scored once in the top of the 11th inning to defeat the Huskers, 6-5, in front of 4,076 fans at Hawks Field.
The Huskers led for most of the early innings, before Ohio State turned a three-run deficit into a 5-4 lead with a four-run seventh inning. The Buckeyes held that lead until the ninth, when sophomore Austin Darby produced a two-out, RBI single to force extra innings. But a two-out double, RBI double in the top of the 11th helped Ohio State even the series.
With the win, Ohio State improved to 22-11 on the season and moved to 6-5 in Big Ten play. The Huskers fell to 14-18 with the loss, but Nebraska remained in a first-place tie in the conference standings with a 8-3 league record.
Trace Dempsey (1-0) picked up his first win of the season in relief, despite blowing a save. Dempsey allowed Nebraska to tie the game with a run in the bottom of the ninth, but that was the only run he allowed in 3.0 innings. Ohio State starter Brad Goldbert lasted just 4.2 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits. Goldbert's four earned runs allowed were a season high, as he had not allowed more than two earned runs in any of his first eight starts.
Sophomore Josh Roeder (0-2) took the loss for NU, allowing one run on two hits in 2.0 innings. Sophomore starter Aaron Bummer had one of the best outings of his career, although he did not factor into the decision. Bummer threw a career-high 5.0 innings, allowing only an unearned run on four hits. Senior Dylan Vogt allowed four runs on four hits in 4.0 innings of middle relief.
Nebraska jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. Senior Chad Christensen began the frame with a single before classmate Kash Kalkowski reached on a one-out single to put Huskers on first and second. Sophomore Blake Headley then grounded a 1-2 pitch through the left side for an RBI single that scored the game's first run.
After Ohio State tied the game with an unearned run in the top of the fourth inning, the Huskers answered back with a two-out rally in the bottom of the frame. Sophomore Tanner Lubach drew a two-out walk in front of a single from senior Bryan Peters. Senior Rich Sanguinetti then brought Lubach home with an RBI single through the right side.
The Huskers added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth to grab a 4-1 lead. Junior Michael Pritchard began the frame with a leadoff single before stealing second base. Christensen followed with a walk, before Darby sacrificed the runners to second and third with a bunt. Kalkowski was then hit by a pitch to load the bases before Headley scored a run with an RBI groundout. The bases were re-loaded following a walk to Lubach, and Peters was then hit by a pitch to force in the inning's second run.
Nebraska held the 4-1 lead until the top of the seventh. A hit batter, a single and a walk loaded the bases with Buckeyes before the Huskers could record an out. An RBI ground out and an RBI single pulled Ohio State with 4-3, before a clutch two-out, two-run single from Ryan Cypret gave the Buckeyes a 5-4 lead.
Trailing for the first time, the Huskers were retired in order in the seventh and eighth innings before using a two-out rally to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth. Sophomore Pat Kelly nearly tied the game himself leading off the ninth, as he flew out to the wall in left into a strong wind. Pritchard then got things started with a one-out single. With two outs, junior pinch runner Ty Kildow stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by the catcher. Darby then tied the game, bringing Kildow home with an RBI single through the left side.
Neither team threatened in the 10th inning, before Ohio State took a 6-5 lead in the top of the 11th. The first two Buckeyes were retired quickly before Troy Kuhn singled and Tim Wetzel followed with an RBI double.
Kelly drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the 11th to put the tying runner on base. He moved into scoring position with two outs on a ground out, before another ground out ended the game.
Pritchard and Christensen each produced two hits for NU in the loss, while Headley drove in a pair of runs.
Nebraska will go for the series victory on Sunday, with first pitch set for 1:05 p.m.