Nebraska claimed its third consecutive conference series victory for the first time in five years with a 12-8 victory over Iowa on Saturday afternoon at Duane Banks Field in Iowa City, Iowa.
NU has now won each of its first three Big Ten series. The Huskers will finish the three-game set with Iowa at 1:05 p.m. Sunday.
The Huskers — 13-16 overall, 7-1 and second in the Big Ten — counted on 17 hits, including two doubles by third baseman Blake Headley, and doubles by catcher Tanner Lubach, first baseman Kash Kalkowski and designated hitter Michael Pritchard.
Nebraska’s mastery of Big Ten pitching showed again; the Huskers are hitting over .400 and have scored 72 runs in conference games.
“We start the game with three flyballs, and I was about to go bonkers,” said NU coach Darin Erstad on his post-game radio show. “But we got the bats level and had a good approach the rest of the game. We didn’t try to do too much, even though there is a temptation with the wind blowing out like it was today.”
With the game tied 8-8 in the seventh inning, Nebraska took the lead when Lubach singled, advanced on a double by Headley and scored on an error. Two walks later, Pritchard, who drove in four runs, singled in two to give NU an 11-8 lead. Kalkowski singled and scored on a double by Headley in the eighth inning to give the Huskers 24 runs in their last two games.
Husker senior right-hander Dylan Vogt pitched the last three scoreless innings to quell any Hawkeye rallies.
“We had them right where we wanted them,” Erstad said as he laughed. “We’re getting pretty good at these kind of games, though. We’ll give up some runs but come back and take their will from them. You can see the body language and know that we’ve been fighting harder than our opponents.”
Nebraska took a 2-1 lead in the second inning on hits by Chad Christensen, who had three singles, and Lubach, and two Iowa errors.
The Hawkeyes (10-15, 1-6) rallied for five runs on three hits, three walks and two hit batters in the third inning, but NU reliever Zach Hirsch settled Iowa down through the next three innings.
Iowa scored two runs to tie the game in the sixth on two hits, an error and another hit batter, but the Hawkeyes failed to score with two on and one out in the eighth and managed just one hit in the final nine batters against Vogt.
“Hirsch, Luke Bublitz, did fine and Dylan (Vogt) did his thing, but we need better from the starters,” Erstad said.
Ryan Hander allowed seven hits six runs, hit two batters and walked two in 2 1/3 innings.
NEBRASKA 12, IOWA 8
|Sanguinetti cf||6||2||2||0||Toole cf||4||1||1||0|
|Kelly 2b||4||1||2||0||Goodman lf||5||2||3||0|
|Pritchard dh||6||0||2||4||Yacinich ss||4||1||3||0|
|Christensen lf||4||2||3||1||Kenyon 1b||5||2||3||3|
|Kalkowski 1b||4||2||2||1||Kaufman dh||3||1||0||0|
|Darby rf||3||1||1||2||Brand c||3||1||1||2|
|Lubach c||5||1||2||1||Zeutenhorst rf||4||0||0||1|
|Headley 3b||5||1||2||1||Mangler 2b||4||0||2||1|
|Peters ss||4||2||1||0||Day 3b||1||0||0||0|
E--Kelly (6), Yacinich (10), Brand (3), Zeutenhorst (1), Mangler (4). DP-- Iowa 2. LOB--Nebraska 9, Iowa 13. 2B--Pritchard (6), Kalkowski (5), Lubach (2), Headley 2 (3), Toole (3), Kenyon (4), Brand (4), Mangler (3). SH--Darby (5), Yachinich (5), Kaufman (3). SF--Christensen (2), Kalkowski (3), Roscetti (1). CS--Yacinich (3).
|Bublitz L 1-0||0 2/3||1||0||0||1||2|
HBP--by Hander (Brand); by Hander (Zeutenhorst); by Hirsch (Brand); by Hirsch (Yacinich). WP--Dermody (2). T--2:59. A--634.