Matt Waldron quickly got his groove back.

Keegan Watson, meanwhile, made sure to back up his pitcher.

Watson's two-run homer in the top of the sixth sparked a three-run inning and the Nebraska baseball team rallied for a 3-2 win in the series opener Friday at Penn State in State College, Pennsylvania.

Waldron (5-0) shook off a slow start — he gave up five hits and two runs in the first inning — to produce another deep outing. The senior right-hander pitched seven innings, allowed six hits and jammed PSU batters into 14 pop-outs. Waldron has now pitched seven innings or more in five straight starts.

"The first inning, it didn't look like he had much," NU coach Darin Erstad said on his postgame radio show. "His velocity looked down and they jumped all over him, his ball was up in the zone. You're like, 'All right, going against their guy (Penn State pitcher Dante Biasi), what's this going to look like?'

"Talk about using your experience. He just flipped a switch and got back on it."

Robbie Palkert pitched a scoreless eighth, and freshman Colby Gomes threw a scoreless ninth for his fifth save.

Nebraska (18-10, 8-2 Big Ten) in the early going was unable to break through against Biasi, the reigning Big Ten Pitcher of the Week.

The left-handed sophomore, working high in the strike zone, allowed only one hit through the first five innings, though he did walk six batters, and several NU batters had deep at-bats (including a 13-pitch at-bat by freshman Spencer Schwellenbach, which resulted in a third-inning walk).

It was Joe Acker's inning-opening walk in the sixth that helped break the seal. Watson, who struck out in his first two trips to the plate against Biasi, followed with his third homer of the season to tie the game at 2-2.

That chased off Biasi, but the hits continued for NU. Mojo Hagge and Angelo Altavilla had back-to-back singles, and Gomes' RBI fielder's choice broke the tie.

"I thought early on we had a couple chances, but what we did in the third and fourth innings, we had some unbelievable at-bats, even though we didn't score, and we got his pitch count up," Erstad said of Biasi, who threw 102 pitches in five-plus innings. "He looked tired towards the end there, and that's how you got to take down really good pitchers."

Waldron sat down the Nittany Lions in order in the seventh, Palkert induced an inning-ending double play in the eighth, and Gomes struck out two in the ninth.

The Nittany Lions (17-13, 1-8) struck first and fast. Four of Penn State's first seven hitters smacked singles, including an RBI hit to left-center from Gavin Homer to give the Nittany Lions a 2-0 lead.

But Waldron settled in. He retired nine of the next 10 batters in order, and the only Penn State base runner in that stretch reached on an error.

"Was (Waldron) as sharp as he's been before? Maybe not," Erstad said. "But that's going to happen through the course of the year. For him to grind out and get seven there, just a fantastic job."

Since pitching three innings against Oregon State (Feb. 24) and five against Texas Tech (March 1), Waldron has gone seven (at Baylor), nine (Michigan State), eight (at Minnesota), seven (Purdue) and seven (Penn State). He hasn't allowed more than two runs in a game since Oregon State.

The Huskers and Nittany Lions will play a doubleheader Saturday beginning at 2 p.m.


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