Lincoln – With a shot at the No. 2 seed at the Big Ten Tournament on the line, the Nebraska baseball team (25-28, 15-9 Big Ten) was unable to take care of business on Saturday afternoon at Hawks Field. The Huskers dropped a 19-9 decision to the Michigan Wolverines (29-25, 14-10 Big Ten).
The Huskers could do no worse than the No. 3 seed in the tournament coming into the game and will face the No. 6 seed Wolverines in the opening round of the tournament, as the Wolverines punched their ticket with the win on Saturday at Hawks Field.
The two teams will play the second game of the tournament on Wednesday at 3:35 p.m. in Minneapolis, Minn., at Target Field. No. 4 Illinois and No. 5 Minnesota will play the opener at 12:05 p.m. on Wednesday.
Nebraska’s offense put up nine runs for the second straight game on Saturday and registered double-digit hits for the fifth straight game with 10 on the afternoon, but were unable to keep up with the Wolverine offense. Husker pitching gave up a season-high 19 runs on season-high 23 hits, the first time all season the Huskers have given up 20 or more hits.
Five Wolverines notched at least three hits on the day, including a four-hit game from both Travis Maezes and Cole Martin.
Sophomore Pat Kelly produced three hits for the second straight game, ending the series with a 7-for-14 performance at the plate with five RBIs. Chad Christensen was the only other Husker with a multi-hit day, as the totaled his 239th and 240th career hits, tying him with Alex Gordon for ninth all-time in Nebraska history.
Michigan jumped out to an early 4-0 lead with three runs in the first and a run in the second. The Huskers answered in the bottom of the fourth with a four spot, with NU stringing together three-straight two-out singles.
Needing a win to qualify for the league tournament, the Wolverines combined to score 10 runs over the fifth and sixth inning that put them ahead 14-5. Michigan put the game away for good with five runs in the top of the eighth.
The Huskers never stopped fighting, as NU plated four runs in the bottom of the ninth after entering the inning in a 19-5 hole.
The Huskers will head to Minneapolis on Monday and practice at Target Field on Tuesday in preparation for the league tournament. Greg Sharpe and Lane Grindle will have the call of every game of the tournament on the Husker Sports Network, including for free on Huskers.com. The Big Ten Network will also carry every game of the tournament live.