Huskers Down Iowa in Midweek Battle, 7-3
Lincoln, Neb. - Nebraska (26-16) let a four-run advantage dwindle to one in the seventh inning before Patric Tolentino's 2-run homer reignited the Huskers en route to a 7-3 win over Iowa (15-23) on Tuesday night at Hawks Field.
"We were very business-like and I was very pleased," head coach Mike Anderson said. "I thought the best inning of the night was the seventh inning, where they made it tight. Josh Scheffert had a great night and got us started. It was good to see him and Patric Tolentino come through. We need production out of our 7, 8, and 9 batters."
Tolentino's homer, his second of the year, scored Scheffert to give NU a 6-3 lead after Iowa had made it a 4-3 game in the top half of the seventh. Scheffert tripled to get on base and cap a 3-for-4 night in which he also tabbed a pair of singles. The Huskers added a seventh run in the eighth on a Kash Kalkowski RBI single, while Casey Hauptman tossed a scoreless 2.1 innings to earn his sixth save and improve NU to 21-0 when leading after six innings.
Hauptman was one of a season-high seven pitchers Nebraska used in the contest. Tyler Niederklein, who was on a pitch count, moved to 6-1 on the season by throwing 2.0 innings and giving up no runs on only one hit. Matt Freeman, Zach Hirsch and Brandon Pierce followed Niederklein by each throwing 1.0 inning of scoreless relief as the Huskers built a 4-0 lead through four innings.
Nebraska, which put the leadoff man on base in six of its eight at-bats, jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead after Kale Kiser started the game with a double to the right center field gap. Kiser finished 2-for-3 and was one of four Huskers who finished with multiple-hit games. Bryan Peters got on board via a hit by pitch and scored with Kiser following a throwing error by first baseman Bryan Niedbalski and a 2-out double by Kurt Farmer.
Peters went on to give Nebraska 4-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth when he ripped a first pitch single into left field to score Khiry Cooper and Chad Christensen. Peters is hitting a team-best .429 with runners in scoring position. Cooper was on base following a hit by pitch, one of two on the NU center fielder on the night after he entered the game with just three all season.
After a pair of scoreless innings, Iowa got on the board in the top of the sixth to make it 4-1 before trimming the lead to 4-3 in the seventh on RBI singles from Tyson Blaser and Bryan Niedbalski. Tolentino, who also had a second inning single, helped the Huskers respond in the bottom half with his 2-run homer that put momentum back on the Big Red's side heading into the final two innings.
Nebraska outhit Iowa, 13-5, marking the Huskers' most hits since March 25 at Texas Tech (19). With the win, NU improved to a perfect 6-0 in Tuesday games this season.
The Huskers will head back into Big 12 action this weekend when they host Baylor at Hawks Field. The series opener is Friday at 6:35 p.m.