Nebraska (18-10, 8-2 Big Ten) is on the road in State College, Pennsylvania, for a weekend series with Penn State. Game 1 was a competitive one from start to finish, with the Huskers winning 3-2.
Mother Nature left Nebraska alone for a little while after plenty of canceled and postponed matchups earlier in the season, but was back with another appearance on Friday. Incoming rain and storms in the State College area caused the two teams to move the game up five hours.
Nebraska continued its normal weekend rotation with Matt Waldron getting the start at pitcher. He did Matt Waldron things and went for 7.0 innings once again. Waldron gave up six hits, two runs and recorded two strikeouts on the day.
Waldron also showed the ability to bounce back after giving up four hits and two runs in the first inning. Waldron then allowed only two hits and no runs over the next five innings. He hardly appears to be rattled on the mound and Friday’s matchup with Penn State was proof of that.
The Nittany Lions led through five innings until Keegan Watson delivered a two-run homer in the sixth. Nebraska didn’t stop there and Colby Gomes added an RBI to give the Huskers a 3-2 lead heading into the seventh. That score held out the rest of the game and the Huskers pulled out a gritty win in to start the weekend series.
Robbie Palkert and Gomes finished the game on the mound for the Huskers. Palkert and Gomes combined to give up only one hit in two innings.
The first game of a series is always big and this one was especially important for more than one reason. Nebraska needed to regain confidence after the 10-2 loss to Creighton on Tuesday. It was also important because Penn State’s Friday pitchers have been hot. Last weekend, the Nittany Lions shut out an Indiana team that was tied for second in the conference.
Penn State’s conference record may not look impressive on paper (1-8 after Friday), but seven of the eight losses have come by two runs or less. The Nittany Lions have put together a good pitching staff, but have not gotten run support to equal wins.
Nebraska and Penn State are back for a doubleheader on Saturday (also thanks to Mother Nature), with Game 2 set to begin at 2 p.m. CT.