NU Sweeps Spartans, Fourth Big Ten Sweep of 2014
East Lansing, Mich. – Following a rain delay that pushed back the start of Monday’s series’ finale by 90 minutes the No. 26 ranked Nebraska baseball team (35-17, 16-5) completed a series sweep of the Michigan State Spartans (26-23, 8-13 Big Ten) with a 4-1 win. The game only went 7.0 innings, as it was shortened due to the weather delay and Nebraska’s travel schedule.
Nebraska has now posted four Big Ten series sweeps this season, marking the first time in 14 years that the Huskers have swept four league series in the same year. During the 2000 campaign, the Huskers consecutively swept Kansas, Missouri, Texas A&M and Iowa State.
The Huskers have won seven-straight games and since the start of April the Huskers are 21-5. Also, NU’s 16 conference wins are the most for the Huskers since they won 17 Big 12 games in 2008.
Kyle Kubat went 6.1 innings for the Huskers and limited the Spartans to one run on seven hits and no walks on his way to his first Big Ten win of the year. The junior lefty faced three MSU batters three times on the afternoon. Now 4-2 on the year, Kubat improved his career record to 13-3.
Bob Greco got the final two outs of the seventh to earn his first career save.
Blake Headley led Nebraska’s offense with a 2-for-3 day at the plate with two RBIs, while Tanner Lubach was 2-for-3 with one RBI and Michael Pritchard extended his season-high hitting streak to 16 games with leadoff double in fifth.
Redshirt freshman Cam Vieaux lasted just 4.0 innings against the Huskers, his shortest start of the season since joining the rotation in late March. NU pounded out four runs on seven hits and two walks off the Novi, Mich., native., but did strikeout five times. Vieaux had gone 6.0 innings in each of his last six starts, including a complete game win over Purdue on April 12.
Three MSU reliever each threw an inning of relief and kept the Spartans in the game by keeping the Huskers scoreless over the final 3.0 innings of the game on one hit. But MSU’s offense was only able to scratch across one run on the day, a one-out homer by Ryan Krill in the seventh.
Nebraska jumped on Vieaux in the first with three runs on four hits and a Spartan error. Ryan Boldt led off the game with a single and then Jake Placzek laid down a sacrifice bunt that resulted in a bunt single when he pushed it past Vieaux. The MSU lefty retired Pritchard and Pat Kelly in order, putting Vieaux in position to get out of the inning without any damage, but Headley came through with an RBI single that scored Boldt. Placzek also scored on the play when center fielder Anthony Checky tried to cut down Placzek at third and instead overthrew the base. With Headley on third, Lubach delivered a second-straight two out hit that pushed NU’s lead to 3-0.
Kubat retired the first six Spartans he faced and then Headley came through with another RBI single in the top of third. Following back-to-back walks to Pritchard and Kelly, Headley picked up his second RBI of the game with a base hit up the middle, but Kelly was thrown out at third on the play. It was a big out for the Spartans, as Lubach followed with a double to left and Headley was only able to get to third on the play. Vieaux struck out Austin Darby to end the frame with NU ahead, 4-0.
The Spartans got a leadoff single in the fourth, but Kubat erased Checky with a 4-6-3 double play. MSU then had back-to-back one-out single in the fifth, but again Kubat got a double-play ball that kept the Huskers on top 4-0 through five innings.
MSU put a threat together in the sixth when a two out single by Blaise Salter put runners on the corners, but Kubat stranded both runners when he got Jimmy Pickens to bounce into a 6-3 groundout.
The Spartans knocked Kubat out of the game in the seventh when Krill notched his third homer of the year, but MSU’s offense was unable get anything else after Greco retired two straights Spartans.
Nebraska will play its fourth game in four days tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m. when it meets the Creighton Bluejays at TD Ameritrade Park. The Huskers have taken the first two games between the two teams this season.