The Nebraska baseball team needed to win three games against the Big Ten-basement dwelling Minnesota Golden Gophers this weekend, but it won’t get them.
After picking up a 12-5 win Friday night, the Huskers dropped game two of the series, 9-8, in 12 innings Saturday night in a contest that lasted nearly five hours. The third and final game of the series is slated for a 1 p.m. start, but rain is expected all day Sunday in Minneapolis, making that start time in question.
The Huskers led 8-5 in the seventh inning, but couldn’t hold on to the lead against the Gophers, who came into the game with the worst record in the conference at 2-14. With the loss, Nebraska drops to 7-10 in the Big Ten and 19-26 overall.
Minnesota cut its deficit to 8-7 in the eighth when a Husker error from catcher Griffin Everitt allowed runners from first and second to score. The Gophers then added the tying run in the ninth to force extra innings. Boston Merila’s RBI single off reliever Braxton Bragg in the 12th ended the game.
The Gophers outhit the Huskers 14-11 in the game. Nebraska pitchers struggled to get the leadoff batters out as Minnesota hit .583 (7-of-12) in that department. Max Anderson led the Huskers offensively, going 3-of-7 with two RBIs. Cam Chick had two hits and two RBIs.
Emmett Olson started on the mound for the Huskers, and it was mostly a struggle for the big 6-foot-4, 230-pounder from Illinois, be he made the most of it. The right-hander threw five innings and gave up four earned runs and seven hits, but he also struck out six with four walks and left the game with a 5-4 lead.
Colby Gomes’ solo home run, the fourth of the season for the Millard West High School product, stretched the Husker lead from 4-3 to 5-3 in the top of the third. Minnesota’s Drew Stahl ripped a two-out RBI double down the right-field line in the bottom half of the frame to cut his team’s deficit to 5-4.
Once Minnesota reliever Tom Skoro was out of the game, the Husker offense got things going. Reliever George Klassen came into the game and was not good. The righty walked a batter and hit another to load the bases with one out. Klassen was quickly taken out of the game, and Chick recorded a two-run single off Minnesota’s fourth pitcher of the night, Noah DeLuga, to put the Huskers up 7-5. A couple moments later, Anglim gave Nebraska an 8-5 edge with a sacrifice groundout.
It was an eventful bottom of the eighth for the Gophers, who scored two runs on no hits. With runners on first and second, Everitt air-mailed a routine throw to first that allowed both runners to score, cutting the Huskers’ lead to 8-7.
Nebraska gained a 2-0 lead in the first inning after a two-out RBI single from Anderson and a Gopher error. After Minnesota took the lead with a three-run first, the Huskers plated two more runs, and Anderson was again a big part of it. Last year’s Big Ten Freshman of the Year recorded another two-out RBI single while Leighton Banjoff followed suit with his own RBI single to give his team a 4-3 advantage.