Bryan Peters tied the game with a two-out single in the top of the ninth, but a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth gave Ohio State a 3-2 walk-off victory over Nebraska in the winner’s bracket of the Big Ten Tournament Thursday afternoon in Minneapolis.
With the loss, the Huskers fell into the loser’s bracket and will play at 3:35 p.m. Friday. Nebraska will play the winner of the 12:05 p.m. game Friday between Illinois and the loser of the Minnesota-Indiana game Thursday night at Target Field.
Trailing 2-1 heading into the top of the ninth, the Huskers got the tying run on base with one out following a four-pitch walk to Austin Darby. Ty Kildow came in to pinch run and following a fly out from Tanner Lubach, Kildow stole second base. Peters got ahead in the count 2-0, but OSU closer Trace Dempsey (3-1) evened the count at 2-2. With the Huskers down to their last strike, Peters laced a ground ball through the left side, his second hit of the game, that scored Kildow from second, tying the game at 2-2.
Zach Ratcliff led off the bottom of the ninth with a single and was replaced on the bases by Patrick Porter. Tim Wetzel stepped in an laid down a sacrifice bunt to put the winning run in scoring position with one down. Aaron Gretz pinch hit for the Buckeyes and reliever Dylan Vogt (5-1) intentionally walked him to set up a double-play situation. With the top of OSU’s order up, Joe Ciamacco worked a full-count walk to load the bases and Vogt walked Troy Kuhn on four straight pitches to walk in the game-winning run.
The loss spoiled a solid outing from sophomore Aaron Bummer, who put together his third-straight 7.0-inning start. The lefty gave up a pair of runs on four hits and three walks while striking out five. Buckeye starter Brad Goldberg gave up five hits and four walks over 6.2 innings allowing one run while punching out six Huskers.
Nebraska’s offense had the lead-off man on six times in the game, but five of the six times Goldberg was able to strand the runner. Michael Pritchard’s two-out triple in the fifth inning tied the game 1-1 and marked the only time the Huskers were able to plate a lead-off base runner.
Bummer retired the Buckeyes in order in the first, but then gave up a lead-off single to Brad Hallberg in the bottom of the second, the first hit for either team. The Buckeye first baseman moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and a ground out to the right side, which set up Ratcliff to drive in the first run of the game with a two-out single to center field. Bummer limited the damage to one run with a ground out off the bat of Wetzel to end the inning.
A pair of free passes hurt Bummer in the sixth as he started the frame by walking Troy Kuhn and then hit Kirby Pellant on a sacrifice bunt attempt. Bummer came back and struck out Hallberg, but Jacob Bosiokovic came through with a double to deep right field that scored Kuhn to put the Buckeyes ahead 2-1.
Nebraska’s 4-5-6 hitters ended the day going 0-for-11.