Huskers ride Waldron, timely offense to series-opening win vs. Michigan
LINCOLN, Neb. - Senior Omaha native Matt Waldron pitched 6.2 innings in his final start at Haymarket Park, Nebraska manufactured three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning and the Huskers pulled away for a 5-2 series-opening win over Michigan.
Thursday's win keeps Nebraska in a three-way tie for third place in the Big Ten, 1.5 games behind first place Michigan and just one game behind Indiana. The Huskers would earn a share of the Big Ten title with a sweep of the Wolverines and one Indiana loss at Rutgers.
Nebraska's season will now end Friday due to forecasted inclement weather in the area on Saturday. First pitch of the first game is set for 3:00 p.m., with the second game set for 8:02 p.m. on BTN. Senior Day festivities will take place before the first game.
Michigan got out to an early lead on Waldron as the senior right-hander allowed three hits and two runs in the first two frames. Wolverines star Ako Thomas put UM on top 2-0 with a solo home run in the second inning, but the Husker defense would suffocate the opponents the rest of the way.
Waldron threw 75 strikes on 104 pitches, all while scattering just three hits over his final 5.0 innings of work. Nebraska's top two arms out of the bullpen, long relief pitcher Robbie Palkert and closer Colby Gomes, combined to hold Michigan scoreless the rest of the way, earning Gomes' 12th save of the season.
Meanwhile, the Husker offense found a way to scratch across runs. Nebraska marked two tallies in the second on a fielder's choice RBI from Angelo Altavilla and an RBI single from Alex Henwood, continuing a recent tear for Nebraska's eight-hole hitter.
After four scoreless innings for both teams, Nebraska finally broke through in the bottom of the seventh. With two on and no outs, Henwood angled a sacrifice bunt down the third base line that forced an overthrow from Michigan pitcher Karl Kauffmann. Two runs came in to score on the error, Cam Chick added one more run on an RBI single, and the Huskers held on to the three-run lead for the final two frames.
Haymarket Park's gates open 90 minutes before first pitch. Friday's ticket will grant admission to fans for both games of the doubleheader.