NU buries Buckeyes, sweeps twin bill
Nebraska (25-13, 7-5 Big Ten) used three home runs to win game one, 5-4, and dominated the Buckeyes in game two, 17-9, to take the three-game series after dropping the opener Friday night.
Josh Scheffert powered the Huskers with a 3-for-6 performance, as the junior hit a home run in his third straight game and drove in a career-high seven runs, topping his previous high of four. Richard Stock was also tough on the Buckeyes' pitchers with a career-high four hits, including his team-leading 10th and 11th doubles.
Scheffert ended the week going 7-for-14 with three home runs, one double and 10 RBIs to make a strong case for his second Big Ten Player-of-the-Week award this season.
With no midweek game for the Huskers, NU will get in some extra practice this week in preparation for the Purdue Boilermakers, who sit atop the Big Ten standings.
The Huskers and Boilermakers open a three-game series Friday night at Hawks Field in front of a Big Ten Network audience, with first pitch slated for 6:35 p.m. The two teams are also scheduled to meet at 2:05 p.m. Saturday and 12:05 p.m. Sunday.
Zach Hirsch improved to 4-2 on the season and picked up his second win during Big Ten play with 6.0 innings of work in the start. The sophomore lefty limited the Buckeyes to two runs on seven hits and three walks, while striking out two.
Just as they did in the day's first game, the Huskers took the first lead of the game in the top of the second. Stock led off with his team-leading 10th double of the season and scored on a single by Scheffert.
The Buckeyes answered in the bottom of the second with a one-out solo home run from David Corna. OSU then loaded the bases with one out, but Hirsch buckled down and got consecutive groundouts to escape what could have been a big inning for the Buckeyes.
After the Buckeyes took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third, Nebraska exploded for seven runs in the top of the fourth to retake the lead, 8-2. NU got singles from Austin Darby, Michael Prichard, Rich Sanguinetti and Stock, while OSU committed three errors and two Huskers were hit by pitches. Nebraska's first seven hitters reached and scored before the first out of the inning.
The Huskers continued to add runs in the fifth and extended the lead to 13-2 with five runs. NU loaded the bases without getting a hit to start the inning as Kale Kiser walked, Pat Kelly was hit by a pitch and Pritchard walked. Sanguinetti drove in the first run of the inning with a sacrifice fly, and OSU picked up a second out when Kelly was thrown out at home on a grounder by Kalkowski. Chad Christensen then beat out an infield single to score Pritchard, and Stock walked on four straight to load the bases with two outs for Scheffert. Arguably the Huskers' hottest hitter, Scheffert cleared the bases with a two-out double down the left-field line to push the Huskers' lead to 11.
After NU added another run in the sixth and OSU put up two in the seventh to cut the Huskers' lead to 10 at 14-4, Scheffert put an exclamation point on his outstanding weekend with a three-run, two-out home run that easily cleared the left-center-field wall and extended NU's lead to 17-4.
The Buckeyes continued to fight and put up five runs on six hits in the bottom of the ninth off reliever Luke Bublitz, including a three-run, two-out home run by Brad Hallberg.