Huskers Win in 16th on Christensen Walk-Off Single
Lincoln – After playing for over five hours on Friday night at Hawks Field in front of a national-television audience on the Big Ten Network, senior Chad Christensen delivered a two-out single in the bottom of the 16th inning that scored fellow senior Bryan Peters from third base to propel the Nebraska baseball team (9-15, 3-1 Big Ten) to a 10-9 win over the Northwestern Wildcats (10-7, 2-2 Big Ten).
Peters had one of his best games as a Husker, even though he didn’t enter the game until the seventh inning. With the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh, Peters pinch hit for Wes Edrington and lined a full-count double off of reliever Kyle Ruchim into the right-field gap that cleared the bases to tie the game, 8-8. Peters picked up his third hit of the night to lead off the 16th, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Rich Sanguinetti and then to third on a deep fly out to right field from Pat Kelly. Following a walk to Michael Pritchard, Christensen lined 2-0 pitch from Jack Livingston to right field for the game winner.
Christensen nearly ended the game in the 10th with a one-out single to left field, but Walker Moses threw a perfect strike to the plate to throw out Michael Pritchard, who was trying to score from second base.
Christensen and Kash Kalkowski each ended the night with four hits, while Peters and Austin Darby each collected three hits.
Tanner Lubach also played hero for the Huskers as his two-out single in the bottom of the ninth sent the game to extra innings. After Ruchim struck out Darby and Kalkowski, Blake Headley worked a walk and was replaced on the base paths by Ty Kildow. The 5-5 speedster from Omaha promptly stole second to get himself in scoring position. With a 1-1 count and the Huskers down to their final out of the game, Lubach dropped a single into left field, his only hit of the night, that scored Kildow to tie the game, 9-9, after Northwestern took the lead in the top of the ninth.
Following Northwestern’s run in the top of the ninth, Nebraska’s trio of Dylan Vogt, Josh Roeder and Zach Hirsch was lights out, dealing seven shutout innings. After Vogt struck out his fourth batter of the night to end the 10th, Roeder took the mound in the 11th and was nearly perfect over 4.0 innings. The junior right gave up a two-out double in the 11th and then proceeded to sit down 10-straight Wildcats, totaling a career-high six strikeouts. Zach Hirsch took over in the top of the 13th and retired four straight Wildcats, before Antonio Freschet reached one a one-out single in the 16th inning. Northwestern had Freschet in scoring position with two outs following a single by Scott Heelan, but Hirsch kept the Wildcats scoreless once again with a strikeout of Luke Dauch.
The Husker jumped on Wildcat starter Zach Morton with three runs in the first inning, but the Wildcats answered with a total of seven runs off NU starter Christian DeLeon in the third (3), fourth (2) and fifth (2) innings.
Nebraska’s four-run seventh inning came with two outs, starting with back-to-back singles from Darby and Kalkowski, followed by a double from Headley. After Lubach worked a walk to load the bases, Peters delivered his bases-clearing double to knot the game, 8-8.
Tonight’s 16-inning affair was the longest at Hawks Field in nearly five years, as the Huskers also played 16 with the Texas A&M Aggies on May 9, 2008. 11 pitchers combined to throw 522 pitches on the night.
The Huskers and Wildcats continue their three-games series tomorrow at 2:05 p.m. back at Hawks Field. Ryan Hander is schedule to take the mound for the Huskers against Northwestern’s Luke Farrell. The game will be streamed live on HuskersNSide (subscription required), while Greg Sharpe and Jeff Culhane will have the call across the Husker Sports Network, including for free on Huskers.com.