Huskers avoid series sweep
with 10-9 win over Northwestern
The Huskers rallied from a deficit of six or more for the first time since March 30, 2010. The Huskers improved to 26-16 on the year and 8-4 in conference play with the victory while avoiding a series sweep by the Wildcats.
Down 8-2 midway through the fourth inning, the Huskers managed four runs in the fourth and three in the fifth to gain a 9-8 edge. The Wildcats knotted things back up with a run in the seventh but could not retake the lead despite totaling 16 hits, including multi-hit outing from its first six batters.
Nebraska has no midweek games this week and will next be in action 5 p.m. CDT Friday to start a three-game series at Michigan.
Nebraska's offense was paced by Blake Headley, who produced a three-hit, three-RBI game with a pair of runs scored, including the game-winning sacrifice fly in the eighth. Headley has compiled multi-hit performances in six of his last eight games along with a trio of three-hit efforts.
Freshman Ryan Boldt also drove in three runs, with two RBIs coming on his first career home run with two outs in the fourth. Christian Cox and Ty Kildow also registered two hits apiece.
The NU rally started with a four-run, five-hit performance in the bottom of the fourth. Kildow had a sharply hit single to drive home Headley as the Huskers crept within five. After Steven Reveles scored on a 3-6-1 double play, Boldt blasted a 0-1 offering into the visiting bullpen in right for a two-run home run, bringing the Huskers within two.
As the Husker momentum continued to build, NU took a 9-8 lead in the fifth on three runs. Cox produced a high chopper to third base, scoring Michael Pritchard. With the Huskers down by one, Taylor Fish worked a bases-loaded walk and Boldt was hit by pitch to put the Huskers ahead 9-8 through five innings.
Colton Howell, making an appearance in long relief, provided stability for NU after a rough start for the pitching staff. In the sixth inning after the Huskers took a one-run lead, Howell retired the Wildcats on just three pitches. It marked the first time a Nebraska pitcher registered a three-pitch inning since Kyle Kubat in May 2012. Howell worked 2.2 innings and gave up just three hits, but he allowed the tying run to score in the seventh on a fielder's-choice RBI off the bat of Jake Straub.
The Huskers rallied in the bottom the eighth inning to gain a 10-9 edge. After a Boldt walk and an infield single to third base by Placzek put two men on with nobody out, Pritchard moved the runners up 90 feet and the Wildcats intentionally walked Kelly to load the bases in hope of a double-play ball. Headley stepped to the dish with one down and facing a full count, skied a pitch to center field deep enough for Boldt to tag up and score the go-ahead run from third.
R H E ------------------------------------------- Northwestern ....... 005 300 100 - 9 16 1 Nebraska ........... 200 430 01x - 10 11 2 -------------------------------------------
The Wildcats' starting pitcher Brandon Magallones completed 8.0 strong innings of work with seven strikeouts while allowing eight hits and three walks along with a pair of runs on 118 pitches (74 strikes). Magallones' victory is his first of the year and improves his record to 1-5. Northwestern reliever Jeff Quigley pitched a scoreless ninth for his third save of the year after the Huskers' bottom of the ninth comeback fell short.
Nebraska's junior starting pitcher Chance Sinclair registered a quality start and tied his career high with five strikeouts, a feat he has achieved on four occasions this season. Sinclair threw 106 pitches, including 71 for strikes, and lasted 7.0 innings in the no decision. The NU offense was paced by junior first baseman Blake Headley who now has multiple hits in five of his last seven outings after a 2-for-3 showing in game one.
The Huskers, now 25-16 overall and 7-4 in the Big Ten, broke the stalemate in the fourth when Jake Placzek started the inning with a walk and eventually took second on a wild pitch. After advancing to third on a ground out, Pat Kelly recorded his 100th career RBI after placing a 1-2 pitch through the left side of the infield to give the Big Red a 1-0 edge through four innings.
In the top of the sixth, Northwestern worked a leadoff walk to start the frame. The designated hitter, Jack Livingston, followed with a 0-1 fly ball to deep left center field and down for an RBI double as Zach Jones came in to knot the contest. After a two-out hit kept the inning alive for the Wildcats, Jake Straub guided a 2-2 offering through the left side to drive in Joe Hoscheit for the 2-1 advantage.
An Austin Darby leadoff double and a perfectly executed Christian Cox bunt for a hit gave the Huskers life with runners on the corners and nobody out in the bottom of the seventh. With the bases loaded after a Reveles free pass, Headley lined the first pitch back to the Northwestern pitcher who made the shoestring grab and threw out the runner at third. Taylor Fish then pounded a 2-1 pitch opposite field as Christian Cox came home to score tie the contest 2-2 after seven innings.
Northwestern, which improved to 10-24 overall and 4-9 in the conference, responded quickly in the eighth to take a 3-2 edge. After a walk and a bunt got the inning started, Matt Hopfner tallied the go-ahead run on a Straub ground ball fielder's choice RBI gave the Wildcats the lead. Northwestern registered 11 hits on the afternoon compared to eight for Nebraska. Jones, Hopfner and Hoscheit all tallied two hits each in the victory despite three errors for the Wildcats.
R H E ------------------------------------------- Northwestern ....... 000 002 010 - 3 11 3 Nebraska ........... 000 100 100 - 2 8 0 -------------------------------------------