Posted by: Sports
Courtesy: UNL Athletic Communications
Bloomington, Ind. – After taking the first two games of its Big Ten opening series at Indiana, the Nebraska baseball team (15-10-1, 2-0-1) looked to hand the Indiana Hoosiers (14-11-2, 3-2-1) their first ever sweep at Bart Kaufman Field, but due to a travel curfew the game ended in a 1-1 tie after the end of the 11th inning.
The Huskers still left Bloomington with a series victory, just the third time the Hoosiers have lost a Big Ten series at Bart Kaufman Field since opening the park in 2013.
Nebraska’s last tie came during the 2009 season when the Huskers and Louisiana-Lafayette had to settle for a 5-5 tie after 10 innings on Feb. 22.
Both teams had chances to score, with the Hoosiers leaving 11 men on base, while the Huskers stranded eight.
Eight of Nebraska’s nine hits came from four players, as Jake Meyers, Scott Schreiber, Luke Roskam and Jake Schleppenbach each recorded a pair of hits.
Meyers also started on the mound and went 5.1 innings, allowing one run on six hits and one walk, while matching a career high with five strikeouts. Pauly Milto made his 11th appearance of the year for the Hoosiers, but his first start of the season, and gave the Hoosiers 6.1 innings. Milto also struck out five and allowed one runs on seven hits.
The starting pitchers combined to retire the first 12 batters of the game before Roskam led off the third with the game’s first hit, an opposite-field double. The freshman third baseman ended the frame stranded at second, as Milto retired the next three Huskers in order.
In the bottom of the third the Hoosiers got their first hit of the day with a leadoff single from Ryan Fineman. But just like Milto did in the top half of the inning, Meyers retired the next three batters in order and stranded Fineman at first.
The Huskers got their second hit of the game in the top of the fifth, a double by Schleppenbach, but it came with two outs and NU was unable to capitalize.
The Hoosiers then got their leadoff man on for the third straight inning in the bottom of the fifth when Logan Sowers led off with a single, his first hit of the series. Following a sacrifice bunt, Tony Butler reached on NU’s second error of the game and No. 9 hitter Colby Stratten nearly plated three runs with a deep fly to left, but Mojo Hagge hauled it in on the warning track. The lineup rolled over and Alex Krupa worked a two-out walk, loading the bases for Matt Gorski. Meyers buckled down and struck out Gorski swinging for his fifth strikeout of the game, leaving the bases full.
After getting out of the jam, the Huskers scored the game’s first run in the top of the sixth. Milto retired the first two Huskers of the inning before Meyers singled to start a two-out rally. Schreiber follow with his second single of the game and then Ben Miller delivered the biggest hit of the frame, a RBI single to right field, giving the Huskers a 1-0 lead. With Schreiber in scoring position, Milto ended the rally with a fly out off the bat of Luis Alvarado.
Indiana quickly tied the game in the bottom of the sixth, but left the bases loaded for the second straight inning. Meyers got the first out of the frame, but then gave up three straight hits, including a RBI double from Sowers. The Huskers went to sophomore Robbie Palkert to face Fineman with two in scoring position and one out. Palkert induced an infield pop-up off Fineman, but then hit Butler to load the bases with two outs. Stratten stepped in with a chance to give the Hoosiers the lead, but instead bounced into an inning-ending fielder’s choice on the first pitch of the at bat.
Nebraska got a big break in the top of the seventh, but was unable to take advantage. Roskam led off with a fly to left field that looked to be an out, but Krupa lost the ball in the sun and instead of an out Roskam coasted into third for a leadoff triple. Milto came back and struck out Schleppenbach looking and had a 2-2 count on pinch-hitter Jeff Athey when the Hoosiers went to the pen mid-count, bringing in Austin Foote. With a lefty coming in, the Huskers brought Zac Repinksi off the bench and the junior made contact, but the Hoosiers were able to cut down pinch-runner Joe Acker at the plate. With a runner still on, Foote ended the frame with a strikeout of Hagge.
Palkert retired the top of IU’s lineup in order in the seventh and got the first out of the eighth before giving way to Jake McSteen. The left hander sandwiched a pair of outs around Sowers’ second double of the game, keeping the game tied 1-1.
Matt Lloyd, who took over on the mound in the eighth and got an inning-ending double play, sat the Huskers down in order in the ninth. McSteen came back out for the bottom of the ninth and retired Butler to start the frame, but then walked Stratten to put the winning run on base. The IU lineup rolled over and with a 3-1 count on Krupa, Stratten stole second to put himself in scoring position. Krupa then lifted a line drive to left and Stratten got a big secondary lead, Hagge made a diving catch and fired to second to double up Stratten, sending the game to extra innings.
The Huskers got a leadoff single from Schleppenbach to start the 10th and a two-strike sacrifice bunt from Alex Raburn moved Schleppenbach into scoring position. Schleppenbach then moved to third on a groundout by Hagge, but was stuck there, as Lloyd struck out Angelo Altavilla to end the frame.
Chad Luensmann took the mound in the bottom of the 10th and struck out pinch-hitter Laren Eustace to start the inning. Craig Dedelow then reached on a single, putting the winning run on base. With a 3-2 count to Miller, Luensmann picked up his second strikeout of the inning, but Dedelow stole second on the play. The Huskers then intentionally walked Lloyd, setting up a righty-righty match with Sowers coming to the plate. Luensmann executed and got an inning-ending fielder’s choice that pushed the game to the 11th.
With NU’s 3-4-5 hitters up in the top of the 11th, the Huskers got their leadoff man on when Meyers worked a walk. Lloyd was able to get out of the jam though, setting Schreiber, Miller and Alvarado down in order.
Luensmann retired the Hoosiers in order in the bottom of the 11th, including strikeouts of the final two batters. The clock was just past 3:20 p.m. (EST) and the game was called due to the travel curfew.
Nebraska will be back at Hawks Field on Tuesday for a meeting with the Creighton Bluejays at 6:35 p.m. The Huskers then head to Werner Park on Wednesday to play the Omaha Mavericks before hosting the Maryland Terrapins next weekend for the first Big Ten home series of the year.