Walks and Miscues Cost Huskers in 7-5 Loss
Bloomington, Ind. - The Nebraska baseball team (29-17, 9-8 Big Ten) took a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the fourth inning, but a pair of runs by the Indiana Hoosiers (23-24, 10-7 Big Ten) in fourth, fifth and seventh innings propelled the Hoosiers to a 7-5 win that evened the three game series at 1-1.
NU starter Brandon Pierce dropped his second straight start to fall to 5-3 on year, as the sophomore gave up five runs on five hits and four walks over 4.2 innings of work. IU's Kyle Hart moved to .500 on the year with the win, as he gave up three runs on six hits and no walks over 5.0 innings and he is now 4-4 for IU.
Offensively, Michael Pritchard extended his hitting streak to 23 games with a single in his first at bat of the game, which tied Curtis Ledbetter (2003) for the fourth longest hitting streak in school history since 1958. The sophomore went 3-for-4 on the day for his first three-hit game since March 25, against Illinois. Chad Christensen and Kash Kalkowski each had two hits, while Christensen and Pat Kelly had home runs.
The Hoosiers took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first without getting a hit. IU's first two hitters reached on a HBP and a walk, before Pierce retired Sam Travis on a fly out. Micah Johnson then hit a possible double-play ball to Christensen, but the NU shortstop was unable to field the ball cleanly and only got the out at second, which allowed Justin Cureton to score from third. Pierce then struck out Dillon Dooney to end the frame.
Kelly started the third inning by tying the game at 1-1 with a home run over the left-field wall for the freshman's fifth home run of the year. Hart bounced right back with a pair of strikeouts to Austin Darby and Kale Kiser, before Pritchard picked up his second hit of the game with a two-out single. That set the table for Christensen to pick up his second home run of the weekend and his eighth of the year on a two-out no doubter over the 370 sign in left-center field for his 23rd and 24th two-out RBI's of the season.
IU came back with a leadoff double from Chris Sujka in the bottom of the third and he moved to third on a flyout by Cureton. Sujka then ran himself off the field when he tried to score on a hard shot to Josh Scheffert at third, who easily threw out Sujka at the plate.
After failing to score in the third, the Hoosiers tied the game, 3-3, in the fourth with two runs on two hits and one walk, including a pair of doubles. Indiana retook the lead in the fifth on a two-out single by Michael Basil with the bases loaded that scored two to put IU up 5-3.
The Huskers were set to go to the eighth trailing by just two, 5-3, but Christensen lost a pop fly off the bat of Basil in shallow left-center field with two outs that allowed Travis to score. Basil later scored IU's seventh run of the game on a wild pitch by Ryan Hander.
After scoring once in the eighth, the Huskers needed three runs in the top of the ninth to keep the game going. NU was in business after Richard Stock led off with a single and Josh Scheffert reached on an error by Johnson at second. Rich Sanguinetti plated a run with sacrifice fly to cut IU's lead to two, 7-5, and the Huskers had the tying run at the plate with one down, but Jonny Hoffman got consecutive outs to pick up his fourth save of the year.