Lincoln, NE - It was quite the weekend for the Nebraska baseball team (19-13, 4-2 Big Ten) as the Huskers completed their Big Ten-opening homestand on Sunday with another dramatic walk-off victory. For the second straight day the Huskers plated the winning run with two outs in the ninth, with Tanner Lubach playing hero on Sunday after Michael Pritchard picked up a walk-off single on Saturday. NU defeated Ohio State by a score of 2-1 to complete the series sweep without using one single pitch from its bullpen, as all three starters in the weekend rotation threw complete games.
Lubach was 2-for-4 on the day and was the only player on either team with an RBI, notching both of Nebraska’s on the afternoon. Blake Headley also had a pair of hits for the Huskers, while Jacob Bosiokovic had two of OSU’s five total hits.
Tied 1-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth, it looked like the game was set for extra innings until back-to-back two-out singles from Blake Headley and Ben Miller put the game-winning run in scoring position at second base. Following an OSU mound visit, the Buckeyes stuck with starter Jake Post against Lubach. The Lincoln native jumped on the first pitch he saw from Post and drove it into right-center field to easily score Headley from second base. It was Lubach’s second career walk-off hit at Nebraska, as he also propelled the Huskers to a win over Indiana at last season’s Big Ten Tournament with a leadoff homer in the bottom of the 11th inning at Target Field in Minneapolis.
After Christian DeLeon and Chance Sinclair each threw complete games in the first two games of the series, junior Aaron Bummer didn’t want to break the streak on Sunday. The 6-2 lefty allowed five hits and one walk, while striking out two Buckeyes, and the only run scored against him was unearned. After throwing a then-career-high 7.2 innings last weekend in a win over ULNV, Bummer need just 98 pitches in his first career complete game on Sunday to improve to 4-2 on the year.
Bummer got stronger as the game went on, needing just 47 pitches over his final 5.0 innings of work. After giving up a 13-pitch walk to start the fourth, he needed 50 pitchers to record the final 17 outs of the game over 19 batters. Bummer set the Buckeyes down in order five times on the afternoon and never allowed a runner past second base after the first inning.
OSU’s only threat of the day came in the first when they had the bases loaded to start the game after Troy Kuhn reach on an error, Bosiokovic singled and Ronnie Dawson reached on a bunt single. Bummer dug in and got a 6-4-3 double-play ball off the bat of preseason All-American Josh Dezse and a fly out from Zach Ratcliff to end the threat, allowing an unearned run on the double-play ball.
The Huskers tied the game 1-1 in the fourth, plating an unearned run off of Post. With Pat Kelly on third following a two-out fielding error by Kuhn on groundball off the bat of Ben Miller, Lubach capitalized with a RBI single up the middle.
After the Huskers tied the game in the bottom of the fourth Bummer retired 10 straight Buckeyes until Nick Sergakis roped a one-out single in the eighth. Bummer went right back to work and got a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning. Bummer allowed just a one-out single in the ninth and stranded the runner at first to give the NU offense a chance to win the game in the bottom of the frame.
The Husker will be back in action on Tuesday when they make their first trip of the season to TD Ameritrade Park for a 6:30 p.m. contest against the Creighton Bluejays, with the game scheduled for a statewide broadcast on NET. The Huskers will be home the following night against the Kansas State Wildcats at 5 p.m. The game was originally scheduled for March 4, but was postponed due to weather.
Nebraska returns to Big Ten play next weekend when the Huskers travel to Minneapolis, Minn., to face the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Friday’s series opener is set for 3:05 p.m., while Saturday and Sunday’s games are set for 2:05 p.m., and the finaleon Sunday is scheduled to be carried live on the Big Ten Network.
-Nebraska Athletic Department