It wasn’t “Singin’ in the Rain” revisited, exactly. But there was rain, enough to force the altering of the Big Ten Tournament schedule. And though Nebraska didn’t leave Bart Kaufman Field in Bloomington, Indiana, on Wednesday night singing, there was cause for celebration.
The top-seeded Huskers advanced in the winner’s bracket with a 15-9 victory against Purdue, and got an unexpected day off on Thursday because of inclement weather.
The length of the Purdue game coupled with rain that began in earnest the last couple of innings of the day’s third game caused the postponement of No. 4-seed Maryland against No. 5-seed Iowa, which was to follow the Nebraska game. It will be played at 12:30 p.m. (CT) on Thursday.
The Huskers will play the winner on Friday, at a time to be determined.
Thursday’s other games will be Michigan-Indiana (elimination), Purdue against the loser of Maryland-Iowa (elimination) and Minnesota-Northwestern (winners’ bracket).
The Huskers can rest up, of particular value to Robbie Palkert, who pitched three innings in relief of starter Jake Hohensee, who battled through a five-run second inning to earn the win.
For the second game in a row – remember the 21-3 victory at Penn State to wrap up the regular-season title – Nebraska overwhelmed its opponent with offense, 13 hits, including six doubles, two by Ben Miller, and eighth-inning home runs by Mojo Hagge and Scott Schreiber.
Though you might not think a defensive play would affect a six-run victory, Hagge’s leaping catch against the right-field fence with one on and one out in the eighth might have saved a home run that could have given Purdue some momentum. The score was 11-7 at the time.
A home run would have cut the lead to two, with the next batter hitting a double to drive in the run.
The matter became moot in the bottom of the inning with the Hagge and Schreiber home runs, both with a runner on base. Though Purdue’s Evan Warden led off the ninth with a home run, Palkert retired the next three batters to complete the victory.
The Boilermakers showed their mettle after Nebraska jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning – two of the runs were unearned. But after the five-run second, on five hits, Hohensee retired eight in a row before giving up a home run, the only hit he allowed after, or before, the second inning.
He struck out six and walked two in his seventh victory against three losses.
All of the Huskers in the starting lineup except Luke Roskam had at least one hit, and the freshman third baseman walked three times. In all, six Purdue pitchers issued 10 walks.
Schreiber and Ben Miller led the offensive assault. Schreiber was 2-for-5 with four runs-batted-in and four runs scored. Miller was 2-for-4 and drove in three runs.
Angelo Altavilla extended his hit streak to 12 games with a pair of hits, including a double. Hagge and Jake Schleppenbach also had two hits apiece, including a double by Schleppenbach.
Jake Meyers led off the game with a double. Schreiber had the Huskers’ other double.
Senior Derek Burkamper (6-4, 3.05) is set to pitch for Nebraska on Friday. The weather is expected to be better. The forecast was for only a 30-percent chance of rain mid-morning.
Mike is in his 40th year covering Husker athletics, after seven years of community-college teaching. He has written and edited a dozen books, all on Nebraska football except one, a brief history of Husker basketball. He previously wrote for the Lincoln Journal and Star and Huskers Illustrated. He enjoys music, from the Grateful Dead and Jack Johnson to Van Morrison, Bob Wills, Glenn Miller and pretty much anyone else.