Huskers Improve to 5-0 in Big Ten Series Openers
West Lafayette, Ind. – Behind another solid outing from Christian DeLeon and 10 runs on 12 hits from the Nebraska bats, the Huskers took game one of a doubleheader, 10-2, with the Purdue Boilermakers on Saturday afternoon at Alexander Field. With the win, Nebraska improved to 17-19 on the year and 9-4 during Big Ten play. Game two of today’s doubleheader is set to start at 6 p.m. (CT).
DeLeon improved to 5-2 on the year and 4-0 in Big Ten play with 7.0 innings of work on the mound. The righty allowed just one run on six hits and two walks, while striking out three.
DeLeon has now gone at least 6.0 innings in eight of his 10 starts this season, including five start of at least 7.0 innings.
The junior from Richmond, Texas, native allowed just one base runner through the first two innings and didn’t allow hit first hit until Conner Hudnall reached on a two-out single in the third.
Four Huskers totaled a pair of hits on the day, including Kash Kalkowski, who drove in a game-high four RBIs.
Nebraska nearly plated a run in the first, but Michael Pritchard was cut down at the plate to end the inning. After Pritchard extended his hitting streak to 17 games with a two-out single, Chad Christensen dropped a double down the right-field line. With Pritchard running on the pitch, third-base coach Will Bolt sent Pritchard home, but Purdue got a perfect 9-4-2 relay to keep the Huskers off the board.
After totaling just a pair of hits over the first four innings off Purdue starter Robert Ramer, Nebraska’s bats pounded out five hits in the fifth to score three runs.
Kalkowski nearly led the inning off with a double to right-center field, but Kyle Johnson made a diving catch to rob Kalkowski of extra bases. Blake Headley followed with a laser into the left-centerfield gap for his fourth double of the season and then Taylor Fish delivered his first career-extra base hit at just the right time, as his double down the right-field line scored Headley to put the Huskers ahead, 1-0. Bryan Peters kept the hits coming with a RBI single up the middle and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Rich Sanguinetti. The bunt immediately paid off when Pat Kelly came through with a two-out RBI single through the box that extended NU’s lead to 3-0. Pritchard notched a second-straight two-out single to runners on the corners for Christensen, who hit the ball hard, but right at Hudnall in left field to end the NU fifth.
DeLeon kept Purdue scoreless through the first 6.1 innings, before Sean McHugh was able to just get a ball over the right-field wall into the Husker bullpen for his first home run of the season, cutting NU’s lead to 3-1. The solo homer was just the fifth hit of the game off Nebraska’s 6-3 starter.
The Huskers got the run back and three more in the top of the eighth on just two hits, while taking advantage of two Purdue errors and five wild pitches. Christensen led off with a single, his second hit of the game, and moved into scoring position on a groundout by Austin Darby. Kalkowski drove in his fellow senior with a single up the middle, notching his 102nd career RBI to put NU up 4-1.
Purdue’s bullpen then struggled and the Boilermaker defense committed a pair of errors, allowing three more runs to cross the plate. Kalkowski and Fish each moved from second to home on a pair of wild pitches.
The Huskers scored three runs or more for the third time in the game on a bases-loaded double from Kalkowski in the eight. After Pritchard reached on a leadoff error by Jake Hansen at short, Purdue’s fifth of the game, reliever Brett Andrzejewski issued consecutive walks to load the bases. Kalkowski, who was robbed of a double in the fifth, dropped a two-bagger down the right-field line, pushing NU’s lead to 10-1 on Kalkowski’s fifth career four-RBI game.
Purdue was able to scratch across a run in the bottom of the ninth on two hits off reliever Luke Bublitz, but NU turned its season-high fifth double play of the game to end the inning.
Game two of today’s doubleheader is scheduled for 6 p.m. (CT) and it will be streamed live on BTN.com (subscription required). Greg Sharpe and Lane Grindle will have the call on the Husker Sports Network.