Lincoln – With the bases-loaded and a full count with two outs, sophomore Taylor Fish came through with the biggest hit of his Husker career on Saturday afternoon at Hawks Field, as the Kearney, Neb., native laced a walk-off single into right field that scored Austin Christensen, resulting in a 7-6 victory. With the win, the Huskers (7-5, 0-0 Big Ten) secured a series win over the St. John’s Red Storm and won its first game in 2014 when trailing or tied after the seventh inning. Nebraska was 0-5 in those situations entering Saturday.
Saturday marked the Huskers first walk-off win since Tanner Lubach launched a homer in the bottom of the 11th innings against Indiana at last season’s Big Ten Tournament, while the last time the Huskers posted a walk-off win at home was on March 29 last season when Chad Christensen lined a single in the bottom of the 16th inning in a win over Northwestern.
Along with Fish’s game-winning single, the Huskers were led at the plate by Jake Placzek, Austin Christensen and Ryan Boldt, who all had multi-hit games, while leadoff hitter Austin Darby led the team with a pair of RBIs. Placzek’s 2-for-5 day at the plate marked his fourth straight game with at least two hits.
After Josh Roeder, who picked up his first win of the year, sent the Red Storm down in order in the top of the ninth, SJU reliever Matt Clancy took the mound in the bottom of the frame looking to push the game to extra innings. Clancy was on pace to send the game to extras after retiring Pat Kelly and Blake Headley in order to start the Huskers’ half of the ninth. Christensen then stepped to the plate and got the Huskers going with single, before freshman Bryce Only came off the bench to pinch hit and got in an 0-2 hole, but stayed patient at the plate and was able to work a walk, and Boldt also worked a full-count walk to load the bases. St. John’s went to their pen and brought in sidearm throwing right-hander Thomas Hackimer to face Fish, who hadn’t had an at-bat since Feb. 23 against Utah. The time off didn’t faze the sophomore catcher, as he worked a full count and drove a fastball on the outer half of the plate into right field for walk-off winner.
The Huskers needed the late game heroics after failing to hold onto a 6-3 lead in the top of the seventh. After taking the three-run lead in the bottom of the sixth, a pair of Husker relievers gave up three runs on three hits to the Red Storm’s offense, but reliever Bob Greco did keep the game knotted when he got Dan Roland to fly out with the bases loaded to end the inning.
Prior to the seventh, senior starter Christian DeLeon was in line for the win after giving up three runs (two earned) on seven hits and a pair of walks over 6.0 innings.
Nebraska will look to sweep the three-game series tomorrow when the teams meet at 12:05 p.m. at Hawks Field. Greg Sharpe and Lane Grindle will have the call across the Huskers Sports Network, including on Huskers.com and the Official Huskers App.