What a difference five hours makes. The stage was set when Nebraska and Michigan faced off for the second time on Saturday. It was pretty straightforward too: winner advanced to the Big Ten Championship game on Sunday.
Game 2 had a very different feel for the boys in red.
“Coach said it was very veteran of us to get all of our errors out in that first game,” freshman Spencer Schwellenbach joked post-game.
Nebraska flexed its muscles and put together another complete game in the 7-3 victory.
Omaha native and true freshman Kyle Perry got the start on the mound for the Huskers. Perry has had up and down moments this season, but he was able to hold Michigan to one run and two hits through 3.1 innings.
The fifth inning was a major escape for Robbie Palkert and Nebraska. The score was 3-2 with the bases loaded and Michigan tied the game, but the Huskers were able to limit the damage.
Nebraska responded in the sixth inning with a Jaxon Hallmark RBI double and a run was walked in to put the Huskers in front 5-3. The crowd came to life in the sixth and it was clear that the team fed off the energy. “
Atmosphere was unbelievable,” Schwellenbach said. “They bring the energy for us.”
The rookie from Saginaw, Michigan, continued his tear through the tournament. He went three-for-five on the night with three RBIs.
Michigan head coach Erik Bakich was very impressed with the Husker crowd and the energy they brought Saturday night.
“There are only a few places in the country that could bring that kind of energy,” he said. “I can’t say enough about the fans and the atmosphere. It was a lot of fun to play in.”
Robbie Palkert should get an award for his performance Saturday night. He stepped into the relief role and dominated the mound when Nebraska needed it most. Palkert went 5.1 innings, giving up four hits, two runs and five strikeouts.
The biggest question of the night was who would pitch for Nebraska. Palkert and Perry confidently answered that question. The same question will be asked tomorrow, but the opponent will face the same challenge.
Nebraska will play for a Big Ten title on Sunday and the opponent against either Minnesota or Ohio State. The Gophers and Buckeyes play at 11 a.m. CT and the championship game is set for approximately 3 p.m. CT.