Less than 24 hours after run ruling the Iowa Hawkeyes, it was the Husker’s turn to get humiliated Saturday at TD Ameritrade Park. The Michigan Wolverines handed NU an 18-8 loss, forcing another game to determine who will advance to the Big 10 Tournament championship on Sunday.
“I guess to sum it up, if we can get all of our junk and crap out on one game, let’s just get it all out and reset,” NU head coach Darin Erstad said.
Nebraska starter Reece Eddins got torched for several runs to start the game. The Wolverines scored three of their seven runs in the frame before the Huskers could record a single out. Eddins’ day was done not long after that, as he got yanked in the top of the second in favor of Ethan Frazier. In one inning pitched, Eddins surrendered eight runs on nine hits.
“They jumped all over him,” Erstad said. “(They) took some great swings. They hits some balls hard… they took control of the game from the very get go.”
Frazier had much more success than Eddins, allowing just two runs in his 4.1 inning appearance. With Frazier keeping Michigan’s bats at bay, Nebraska finally had a window to do some damage on offense.
In the fourth inning, the Husker’s bats woke up, but they were only able to make a slight dent in Michigan’s lead, plating two runs on a pair of ground outs from Joe Acker and Colby Gomes, respectively.
But then in the fifth, Nebraska made things interesting, at least for a brief while. Aaron Palensky and Colby Gomes hit back to back homers, just the second time in TD Ameritrade Park’s history consecutive home runs have been hit in a game. The blasts trimmed Michigan’s lead down to five, 9-4.
However, the Wolverines came storming back in the sixth. Michigan posted six runs in the inning on an error, a two RBI single, and a two run shot, all off of relief pitcher Paul Tillotson.
Nebraska wasn’t ready to throw in the towel quite yet, though. In the bottom of the sixth, Cam Chick doubled to left center to score one. Then with the bases juiced, Angelo Altavilla brought two runs across on a chop single that made its way into right field. The three runs NU scored in the inning was able to prevent the mercy rule from taking into effect in the seventh. Through six innings, Michigan led it 15-7.
But the Wolverines only widened the gap and added three more runs over the next three innings, extending their advantage to 18-8, which was the final score of the game. It was a devastating way to lose for the Huskers, as Nebraska had to burn through five pitchers in a four hour long affair, with yet another game still to go on Saturday and the possibility of a championship game on Sunday. Erstad told reporters that the Husker’s won’t linger on the result.
“Have to hit the reset button. That’s the beauty of baseball. It’s zero-zero,” Erstad said. “This game is very strange. Nothing that happens in that game has any bearing on what’s going to happen in four or five hours.”
Nebraska will be back in action against Michigan Saturday evening. First pitch will be approximately one hour following the conclusion of Minnesota and Ohio State’s game. Catch it all on KLIN.
(Photo – Kenny Larabee)