Ann Arbor, Mich. – The Nebraska baseball team (28-17, 10-5 Big Ten) was unable to post a series sweep of the Michigan Wolverines (19-24-1, 9-9 Big Ten) on Sunday afternoon, as Michigan salvaged a win in the three-game series with a 7-5 victory.
Three unearned runs scored by the Wolverines in the bottom of the first proved to be in the difference in the game.
Nebraska cut Michigan’s lead in half in the top of the seventh on a two-run homer by Pat Kelly, but was then unable to get anything else. Jacob Cronenworth picked up his ninth save by retiring the Huskers in order in both the eighth and ninth.
The loss overshadowed a four-RBI day by Pat Kelly, who also scored two runs. Michigan’s pitching staff limited the Huskers to just four hits in the finale after the Huskers posted 13 hits on Friday and nine yesterday.
Aaron Bummer took the loss for the Huskers, falling to 4-3 on the year. He lasted 5.1 innings, allowing six runs (three earned) on four hits and five walks, while striking out five.
For the second straight day the Huskers scored in the first, converting a one-out walk by Jake Placzek into a run. Following the free pass, Pritchard roped his 15th double of the season to move Placzek to third and he then scored on a groundout by Kelly.
A Husker error proved costly in Michigan’s half of the first, as the Wolverines scored three unearned runs to take 3-1 lead. Travis Maezes led off a single and later scored on a sacrifice fly that would have been the third out of the inning if Bummer hadn’t committed an error on a sacrifice bunt by Cronenworth earlier in the inning. After the sacrifice fly, Carmen Benedetti came through with a RBI single and Jackson Lamb followed with a RBI triple, before Bummer put an end to the inning with a strikeout.
The Wolverines gifted the Huskers a run in the top of the third when the NU scored a run without getting a hit, as Michigan starter Logan McAnallen walked two Huskers and Maezes committed a pair of errors at shortstop. Nebraska had the bases loaded with one out, but were only able to plate one run, cutting UM’s lead to 3-2.
Bummer allowed two runs to score in the bottom of the third, with both runs scoring on a wild pitch. Bummer struck out Jackson Glines looking to start the inning, but then loaded the bases with a pair of hit-by-pitch and a single. The Wolverines were unable to come through with a hit, but got two easy runs on wild pitches by Bummer to push their lead to 5-2.
A leadoff four-pitch walk by Kelly to start the sixth came around to score on a RBI single by Austin Darby, cutting UM’s lead to 5-3. The Huskers were primed to tie or take the lead later in the inning when a one-out walk to pinch hitter Ben Miller loaded the bases, but reliever James Bourque got Fish to bounce into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play. It was the second bases-loaded opportunity squandered by the Huskers.
Michigan got the run back and tacked on another in the bottom of the sixth, extending its lead to 7-3. Cronenworth executed a suicide squeeze with one out and then Glines came through with a two-strike, two-out RBI single off reliever Austin Christensen.
Boldt got the Huskers going in the seventh with a leadoff triple, his fourth of the season and the Huskers’ 17th as a team. Reliever Brett Adcock came back and got consecutive outs and was on pace to strand Boldt at third, but Kelly instead cut Michigan’s lead in half with a deep blast over the left-field wall on a 0-1 offering. It was Kelly’s second homer of the year and his third extra-base hit of the weekend.
The Wolverines tried to squeeze home another run in the seventh, but Trey Miller failed to get down the bunt and Fish was able to tag out Zach Zott, keeping UM’s lead to a pair of runs, 7-5.
Cronenworth closed the door down the stretch, retiring six straight Huskers to preserve the win.
The Huskers return to the state of Nebraska for their final two non-conference games of the season. Nebraska will visit TD Ameritrade Park on Tuesday, April 29, for a 6:30 p.m. game against Creighton Bluejays before returning to Omaha the following night with a trip to Werner Park on Wednesday for a 6:30 p.m. game against the Omaha Mavericks.