Ann Arbor, Mich. - The Nebraska
baseball team (34-21, 14-10 Big Ten) secured the No. 4 seed at next week's Big
Ten Tournament with a 7-3 win over the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday
afternoon at Wilpon Complex. The Huskers will face the Michigan State Spartans,
who also won on Saturday, but finished the year one-game behind Nebraska in the
just one conference start under his belt, senior Dexter Spitsnogle put together
his best game as a Husker, but didn't factor into the decision. The righty from
Odell, Neb., went a career-high 6.2 innings and struck out a career-high six, but
wild pitch on a strikeout with two down in the bottom of the seventh spoiled
the senior's day. Dylan Delaney reached and Michigan followed with three
straight hits to take a 3-2 lead after Spitsnogle had pitched a shutout over
the first six innings.
Lemke earned the win for NU with 2.1 innings of shutout relief, as the junior
gave up two hits and no walks, while striking out three.
Michigan starter Ben Ballantine sent the Huskers down in order in the first,
Richard Stock got the NU bats going with a leadoff home run in the second off
the scoreboard behind the right-field wall. The solo shot extended Stock's
hitting streak to 18 games, which is the second longest streak by a Husker this
season and ties Stock with Jed Morris (2002) and Joe Simokaitis (2005) for the
11th-longest hitting streak in school history since 1958. Michael Pritchard's
25-game hitting streak earlier this season ranks third all-time at NU.
pushed its lead to 2-0 in the top of the third with a pair of infield singles.
With runners at the corners and one down, Pritchard laid down a bunt single
that scored Kale Kiser from third, who reached earlier on a one-out walk. NU
then loaded the bases with one down for Stock, but Ballantine got 6-4-3 double
play to avoid any further damage.
just two singles off Spitsnogle through the first three innings, the Wolverines
gained some momentum with a two-out double by Brett Winger. Spitsnogle then
issued back-to-back walks, his first two of the game, to load the bases. The
senior righty stayed composed and got pinch hitter John DiLaura to ground out
to Pat Kelly at second to end Wolverines' chance at a big inning.
retired eight of the next nine Wolverines he faced and looked to have a 1-2-3
inning in the seventh, but Delany reached on a wild pitch after swinging at
strike three. Pat Biondi followed with a single, before John Lorenz tied the game
with a triple into the left-field gap, which prompted Head Coach Darin Erstad
to bring in Lemke from the bullpen. Lorenz then scored to put Michigan ahead,
3-2, on a double by Michael O'Neill that landed just inside the left-field
offense responded in the top of the eight with three runs on three hits and one
Michigan error. Pritchard opened the frame with a double and moved to third on
a sacrifice bunt by Chad Christensen. Stock then tied the game, 3-3, with a
deep sacrifice fly to right center that easily scored Pritchard. Josh Scheffert
followed with a two-out walk and went first-to-third on a single by Rich Sanguinetti.
The two-out hits kept coming, as Kash Kalkowski laced a single through the
right side that scored Scheffert and Sanguinetti moved to third. The Wolverines
then handed the Huskers their third run of the innings, as UM catcher Kevin
White overthrew the pitcher, allowing Sanguinetti to come in to score and give
NU a 5-3 lead.
Huskers pushed the lead to 7-3 in the top of the ninth on a pair of hits and a
two-out Michigan error. Pritchard reached on a one-out walk and scored
following back-to-back singles by Christensen and Stock. Both runners advanced
on a ground out by Scheffert and Michigan looked to get out of the inning down
just three when Sanguinetti ground to second, but DiLaura threw wide of the bag
at first, allowing Christensen to cross the plate.
sealed the win for the Huskers with a perfect ninth inning, as the junior
retired seven of the final batters he faced.
Huskers are scheduled to head to Columbus, Ohio, tomorrow to start preparation for
the 2012 Big Ten Baseball Tournament, which opens on Wednesday, May 23, at
Huntington Park. Every game of the tournament will be shown live on the Big Ten
Network and Nebraska will open play at 11:05 a.m. (CT) on Wednesday against the
Spartans, and the Huskers will be the home team in the game.
information on the tournament can be found here - http://www.bigten.org/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/basebl-tourney-central-12.html