NU BSB: Huskers Fall in Home Finale, 9-6

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Huskers Fall in Home Finale, 9-6

Lincoln – The Nebraska baseball team (34-19, 9-12 Big Ten) had the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning, but couldn’t complete a comeback in a 9-6 loss to the Purdue Boilermakers (17-34, 4-17 Big Ten) in the final home game of the season at Hawks Field. After winning the series opener on Saturday, the Huskers dropped the finale two games of series to Purdue.

The Huskers took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth following a two-run homer from Scott Schreiber, but the Boilermakers answered with eight runs in the top of the sixth to take a 9-2 lead. Nebraska scored the game’s final four runs with two each in the eighth and ninth innings, but were unable to get the final three runs it need to extend the game.

The Huskers sit eighth in the Big Ten standings with three games left in the regular season. Nebraska can clinch a bid to the Big Ten Tournament with a win at Illinois next weekend.

Just like the first two games of the series, Purdue took the first lead of the game. NU starter Derek Burkamper started the game with a strikeout before giving up back-to-back singles. Burkamper then punched out clean-up hitter Kyle Johnson and was in position to escape unscathed, but Brandon Krieg delivered a two-out RBI single that gave the Boilermakers a 1-0 lead.

After giving up the first-inning run, Burkamper kept the Boilermakers off the board over the next four innings and the NU offense finally gave him some run support in the bottom of the fifth.

With just one hit through the first four innings, the Huskers notched three hits in the fifth, including a pair with two outs. Jake Schleppenbach got the inning started with a one-out single, but Purdue starter Brett Haan responded with a fly out off the bat of Luis Alvarado. Schleppenbach got himself into scoring position by stealing second and then tied the game when he scored on a RBI single by Jake Placzek. The lineup turned over and Ryan Boldt worked a walk before Blake Headley put the Huskers in front, 2-1, with a RBI single. Haan put an end to the rally with a 4-3 groundout from Ben Miller.

The Huskers didn’t hold the lead long though. Burkamper had retired eight-straight Boilermakers before Johnson led off the top of the sixth with his second home run of the series. With a 2-2 count, Johnson cleared the left-field wall to tie the game 2-2. Krieg followed with a single and then Jack Picchiotti hit what looked to be a double-play ball, but Krieg was going on the pitch and with Placzek covering second base the ball bounced into the outfield for a single to put runners on the corners with no out. The Huskers turned the ball over to reliever Jeff Chesnut, who was welcomed by a RBI single from Brett Carlson that gave Purdue a 3-2 lead. Justin Gubsner then laid down a sacrifice bunt and Alec Olund walked to load the bases with one out. Leadoff hitter Harry Shipley drove in the third run of the inning with a single and the Huskers again went to the pen, bringing in Garett King. The Boilermakers kept the offense rolling with a single, a walk and another single that pushed the lead to 7-2. King then had a shot to get out of the inning with a ground ball, but Krieg beat out the double-play ball and Purdue took a 8-2 lead. Jake Meyers became the fourth Husker pitcher of the inning and was welcomed by an RBI single from Picchiotti. Meyers ended the inning with a fly ball off the bat of Carlson, but not before Purdue took a 9-2 lead with eight runs on eight hits, including seven singles.

The Huskers got two runs back in the bottom of the eighth when Austin Darby notched a two-out single and Schreiber followed with his third home run of the season to cut Purdue’s lead to 9-4.

After NU’s first two batters were retired in the ninth, Boldt and Headley each worked two-out walks and Miller drove in a run. Headley then scored on a wild pitch and Taylor Fish drew a walk to bring Darby to the plate as the game-tying run. Darby got ahead 3-0 in the count, but Kyle Van Hoeck came back with two straight strikes to load the count. On the sixth pitch of the at-bat Darby grounded out to first and the Boilermaker’s picked up their first Big Ten series win of the season.

With three games remaining in the regular season, the Huskers will leave Lincoln on Wednesday for Champaign, Ill. The Huskers and Illini open a three-game series on Thursday at 6:05 p.m. Friday’s game is set for 6:05 p.m. and Sunday’s finale is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. Both Saturday and Sunday’s games will be carried live on BTN.