Huskers Rally for Second Straight Day, Sinclair Goes the Distance
Lincoln - After going 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly in his first four trips to the plate, Michael Pritchard produced a bases loaded, two-out, two-RBI walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Nebraska baseball team (18-13, 3-2 Big Ten) back-to-back come-from-behind victories over the Ohio State Buckeyes (18-12, 2-6 Big Ten) with a 4-3 win on Saturday afternoon in front of 3,871 fans at Hawks Field.
After reliever Travis Lakins retired Ryan Boldt to start the ninth, the 6-1 OSU freshman walked Blake Headley and gave up a single to Christian Cox that put the tying run on base. Lakins struck out Austin Christensen for the second out of the ninth, but then issued consecutive walks to Ty Kildow and Jake Placzek, forcing in pinch runner Quinn McGill to make it a 3-2 game. With the tying run 90 feet away and the winning run at second base, the Buckeyes went to Trace Dempsey, who was an All-American last year. Dempsey got ahead of Pritchard 1-2, before the senior left fielder from Omaha blistered an offering back up the middle that scored Kildow and Cox for the Huskers’ third walk-off winner of 2014. The game-winning hit capped a three-RBI game for Pritchard, as drove in NU’s first run of the game with a RBI sacrifice fly in the eighth.
For the second straight game Nebraska got a complete-game outing from its starting pitcher, as Chance Sinclair went the distance after Christian DeLeon threw a complete-game gem on Friday night. Sinclair went a career-high 9.0 innings, allowing seven hits and no walks, while striking out four. Nebraska’s defense didn’t play well behind its starter, giving up three unearned runs on three errors. Even though he hadn’t given up an earned run on the day, Sinclair was in line for the loss when he left the mound after the top of the ninth, but following the comeback win, Sinclair improved to 5-1 on the season.
The last time Nebraska notched consecutive complete games was at the the end of the 2009 season. Sean Yost went all 9.0 innings in a 5-0 win over Baylor on May 16 and Erik Bird followed with 9.0 innings in a 9-4 win over the Bears on May 17 to end the season.
The NU comeback again spoiled a strong outing by Ohio State’s starter. After Greg Greve threw 6.0 shutout innings in a no-decision on Friday night, freshman Tanner Tully allowed just three hits and one run over 7.1 innings of work. The Elkhart, Ind., native took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning before Tanner Lubach laced a two-out single back up the middle to start a potential NU rally. Boldt followed with a rocket off the glove of Tully that fell softly on the infield, putting runners on first and second before a strikeout ended the threat.
The Buckeyes jumped out to an early lead after a fielding error produced the first run of the contest. Two more fielding errors in the top half of the fifth inning stretched the OSU lead to 3-0. After a leadoff single started things for the Buckeyes, Tim Wetzel reached on a fielder's choice while Nick Sergakis took second on an NU miscue by shortstop Steven Reveles. Pat Porter then blistered a 0-1 offering to Reveles, and again he was unable to make the play, allowing Sergakis to score. Ohio State tacked on its next run after a caught stealing attempt with runners on first and third was mishandled. The Huskers nabbed Porter in a rundown on the play, but Wetzel crossed home to give the Buckeyes a 3-0 lead.
The Huskers will go for the sweep over the Buckeyes in tomorrow’s series finale at 1:05 p.m. The game will be streamed live on the Big Ten Digital Network (video.btn.com), while Greg Sharpe and Lane Grindle will have the call across the Husker Sports Network.