March 30, 2013
| at Nebraska
| Box Score
|| NEB 8, NU 5
|| NU 10-8 (2-3 Big Ten), NEB 10-15 (4-1 Big Ten)
| Next NU Event
|| at Nebraska (Lincoln, Neb.), March 31, 1:05 p.m. CT
LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nebraska pushed across five unearned runs in the seventh inning and three more scores in the eighth to erase a four-run deficit and overcome the Northwestern Wildcats Saturday, 8-5. The Huskers have taken the first two games in the three-game set at Hawks Field in Lincoln, Neb.
The starting pitchers for both sides were effective in the early innings Saturday. Nebraska's Ryan Hander retired the first eight Wildcats he faced before Walker Moses broke up the brief no-hit bid with a single up the middle with two outs in the third inning.
On the other side, Northwestern's Luke Farrell was also in control on the hill. The senior recorded three strikeouts in the first three innings and got some help from his defense like the nifty double play turned by middle infielders Kyle Ruchim and Trevor Stevens in the second.
Northwestern finally broke the scoreless tie with a run in the fourth inning. Jack Havey singled with two away before Scott Heelan doubled down the line in left. Havey was able to score from third when Hander uncorked his first wild pitch of the afternoon.
The Wildcats went to work again during the top of the fourth inning. Zach Jones clubbed a lead-off single to left field and was sacrificed to second by Nick Linne. Moses then picked up his second hit in as many at-bats and his first RBI of the day with a base hit to left field. At that point Hander's day was done and Nebraska summoned Brandon Pierce from the bullpen.
Pierce surrendered back-to-back singles to Stevens and Ruchim before Zach Morton followed suit and drove in a pair of runs with an RBI single to the opposite field. Morton's knock gave Northwestern a 4-0 lead after four and a half frames.
Meanwhile, Farrell left the bases full of Huskers for the second time in the bottom of the inning. Nebraska collected three-consecutive singles with two outs, but the right-hander got a crucial ground ball to Ruchim at second base to end the threat. Stevens, the shortstop, also made a tremendous play to stop a ball of the bat of Chad Christensen that likely would have plated at least one run.
The Huskers began to take advantage of shaky Northwestern defense in the bottom of the seventh inning. Nebraska scored five times on four hits and three Wildcat errors and take their first lead of the game, 5-4.
The 'Cats did not back down, however. Jones singled with one out in the top of the eighth before Linne and Moses drew back-to-back walks. Nebraska brought in lefty Tyler King to face Stevens, but NU's fifth-year senior hit a ball deep enough to center field that Jones was able to score the go-ahead run from third and tie the game, 5-5.
Nebraska's Pat Kelly opened its half of the eighth with a double deep into the gap in right-center field. Christensen drove in a run with a single to left field and the next batter, Austin Darby grounded out sharply to Havey, but Michael Pritchard scored on the play to increase the lead to two runs. Nebraska added another tally on an RBI single off the bat of Blake Headley to chase Northwestern's Reed Mason from the ballgame. Jack Livingston recorded the final out to avoid any further damage on the scoreboard.
In the ninth, Havey singled and Heelan blasted his second double of the game with one out for the Wildcats. Jack Mitchell was then hit by an Aaron Bummer offering to load the bases. Bummer settled down, however, to strike out Jones and get pinch hitter Jake Schieber to ground out to end the game and earn his first career save.
Farrell finished with five strikeouts in 6.1 innings of work, but he did not factor in the decision. Mason took his first career loss, while King got credit for the win, his first of the year.
Moses tied a career high with three hits in the game. It marks the second time this season, and fourth overall, that the sophomore had three knocks; he also accomplished the feat this year on Feb. 24 at Lipscomb. Jones also had two hits to match his career high, which he previously set in March 16 vs. Bucknell.
The three-game series concludes tomorrow with an Easter Sunday matinee at Hawks Field. Sophomore Brandon Magallones, in search if his fourth win of the season, will get the ball to start the game for Northwestern. Nebraska has not announced its starting pitcher for the series finale. The first pitch is set for 1:05 p.m.
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