Huskers Win in Extras, 3-2, Sweep Gophers
Minneapolis – A two-out RBI single by Steven Reveles in the top of the 10th inning and a perfect bottom of the 10th from closer Josh Roeder secured a 3-2 win and a series sweep of the Minnesota Golden Gophers by the Nebraska baseball team on Sunday afternoon at Siebert Field. With their second straight conference sweep, the Huskers are 7-2 in league play and have swept consecutive conference series for the first time since 2006. The Huskers are also 10-1 against the Gophers since joining the Big Ten Conference, including a pair of conference series sweeps.
Sophomore Austin Christensen picked up his first career win after throwing a scoreless ninth inning, while Roeder picked up his second save of the weekend and his seventh of the season. The Huskers are now 2-0 on the year in extra-inning games, while the Gophers fell to 4-1.
With the game tied 2-2 in the top of the 10th and two outs, Reveles stepped to the plate with the go-ahead run at third base in Ty Kildow after Kildow went 1st-to-3rd on a double by Tanner Lubach. Behind in the count, 1-2, Reveles drove a base hit up the middle off reliever Dalton Sawyer to put the Huskers ahead, 3-2, but on the play Lubach was thrown out at the plate.
The one-run lead was all Roeder needed against Minnesota’s 2-3-4 hitters, as he struck out Tony Skjefte, popped up Dan Olinger and get Michael Handel to fly out to end the game.
Four Huskers produced multi-hit games, including Blake Headley who matched a career high with his sixth career three-hit game.
Starter Aaron Bummer gave the Huskers 7.0 strong innings, but didn’t factor into the decision, leaving with the game tied 2-2. The lefty produced a career-high seven strikeouts, while allowing two runs on six hits and one walk. Bummer had three perfect innings on the afternoon, while four of the Gophers six hits came in their two-run fifth.
Boldt got the Huskers going right away, leading off the game with a base hit. After Jake Placzek popped up a sacrifice bunt attempt, Michael Pritchard came through with a single and on the play Boldt went first to third. The aggressive base running paid off when Pat Kelly delivered a sacrifice fly to center field for his 27th RBI of the season and a 1-0 Husker lead.
Bummer was carving up Minnesota early, retiring the Gophers in order in both the first and second innings. The lefty struck out the first two Gophers he faced in the third before No. 9 hitter Dan Motl dropped a double into left field. Bummer went right back to work and retired Connor Schaefbauer to end the third.
The Gophers got their leadoff man on for the first time in the bottom of the fourth when Skjefte singled up the middle. Minnesota was unable to do anything else in the inning, as Bummer retired the next three batters to keep the Gophers scoreless through four.
Pritchard picked up his second hit of the game in the top of the fifth with a one-out double down the left-field line, but Minnesota starter Ben Meyer retired Kelly and Austin Darby in order to strand Pritchard at second.
Minnesota got it’s leadoff batter on in the fifth and after failing to score in the same situation in the fourth, the Gophers got three more hits in the fifth, including a two-out double by Skjefte that put the Gophers in front 2-1.
Nebraska mounted a threat in the top of the seventh when it loaded the bases with three straight singles, including a bunt single by Jake Placzek. Pritchard tied the game with a sacrifice fly and Meyer got a big second out when he got Kelly to fly out to center. With a lefty in Darby due up, the Gophers went to Sawyer, a lefty. The sophomore promptly loaded the bases with a walk to Darby, setting the table for Kildow. The senior outfielder was unable to get a two-out hit, as Sawyer induced a fly ball to right field to keep the game tied, 2-2.
Nebraska had the go-ahead run on base in the eighth when Headley laced his third hit of the day with one out, but Sawyer stranded him at first with consecutive outs.
The Gophers also got a one-out single in the bottom of the eighth and moved Olinger into scoring position with a walk by Handel, but NU relieve Bob Greco struck out pinch-hitter David Bettenburg and Troy Traxler in order to keep the game knotted, 2-2, headed to the ninth.
Nebraska’s 2-3-4 hitters went down in order in the top of the ninth, giving the Gophers a chance to win the game in the bottom of the frame. Christensen took the mound and gave up a one out single to Mark Tatera, who moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Motl. Schaefbauer nearly delivered the game-winning hit, but Kelly made a diving stop to send the game to extra innings.
The Huskers went on to win another close game late and improved to 6-5 in one-run games.
Nebraska will be back in action on Tuesday night at Hawks Field when it hosts the Kansas State Wildcats on the Big Ten Network at 6:35 p.m. The following night, the Huskers host the Omaha Mavericks at 6:35 p.m., the first ever meeting between the two teams since Omaha moved to Division I.