Nebraska picked up its sixth straight Big Ten win with a 12-8 victory at Iowa Saturday afternoon.
The Huskers (13-16, 7-1 Big Ten) pounded out 17 hits as every player in the lineup had at least one hit. Chad Christensen led the way with three hits while Rich Sanguinetti, Pat Kelly, Kash Kalkowski, Tanner Lubach and Blake Headley each had two. Headley knocked two of Nebraska’s five doubles on the day.
After scoring eight of its 12 runs with two outs on Friday night, the Huskers plated five two-out runs on Saturday. Dylan Vogt closed out the game for this fifth save. Nebraska’s staff allowed eight runs on 11 hits over the first six innings while Vogt threw three shutout innings scattering three hits.
Hawkeye starter Matt Dermody last just four innings, giving up eight runs (seven earned) on 10 hits. Dermody had given up just 18 runs over his first seven starts of the season.
The back-and-forth game saw the lead change hands five times, but after the Hawkeyes tied the game 8-8 in the bottom of the sixth, the Huskers scored the final four runs to secure a series win.
Iowa (10-15, 1-7 Big Ten) took the lead with a run in the first on three-straight singles. With runners on the corners and one down, Lubach caught Jake Yacinich stealing for the second out of the inning, but Nebraska starter Ryan Hander was unable to escape without damage when Trevor Kenyon beat out an infield single that scored Kris Goodman.
The Huskers evened the game and took the lead in the second, taking advantage of two Iowa errors. Christensen led off with single and with Kalkowski up, Christensen moved to third on a wild pitch and a throwing error by Iowa catcher Keith Brand. Christensen then scored on a deep sacrifice fly to left-center field off the bat of Kalkowski. Darby stepped in and hit a ground ball right at Yacinich at short, but the sophomore was unable to handle it, resulting in Iowa’s second error by the inning. Lubach made the Hawkeyes pay with his second double of the weekend, as the sophomore blasted a 1-0 pitch from Dermody off the 395-foot sign in center field.
Following a pair of singles from Sanguinetti and Kelly in the third, Pritchard grounded into a 4-6-3 double play, but Sanguinetti came in to score on the play. Christensen kept the inning going with his second single of the game and Kalkowski followed with a bloop double into shallow right field that put two runners in scoring position for Darby. Nebraska’s clutch two-out hitting continued with a two-RBI single pushing NU’s lead to 5-1.
The Hawkeyes sent 11 batters to the plate and scored five runs in the home third to retake the lead 6-5. Eric Toole led off with a double, Goodman followed with a single and Yacinich laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both his teammates into scoring position. The sacrifice paid off immediately with a two-run double from Kenyon, cutting Nebraska’s lead to 5-3. Hander then walked Taylor Kaufman (1-1) and hit a pair of Hawkeyes to force in a run. Hander lasted just one more batter as Jake Mangler tied the game with a single to shallow center. Zach Hirsch took the mound with the bases still loaded and gave up a sacrifice fly to pinch-hitter Nick Roscetti, putting the Hawkeyes ahead.
Nebraska’s offense answered in the fourth to retake the lead 8-6 on a double from Pritchard. Bryan Peters and Sanguinetti got the inning going with consecutive one-out singles and Kelly followed with a walk to load the bases. Pritchard got ahead in the count 2-0 and lifted a fly ball into deep left-center field that nearly cleared the wall for Pritchard’s first career home run, but the ball stayed just in the yard for a two-run double. Christensen put the Huskers up two with a sacrifice fly.
Free passes hurt the Huskers in the sixth, helping the Hawkeyes tie the game. Hirsch hit the lead-off batter for the second straight inning, the fourth HBP for Iowa in the game and then gave up a single to Kenyon. Kaufman laid down a sacrifice bunt that moved two Hawkeyes into scoring position, ending Hirsch’s day. Luke Bublitz (1-0) took the mound and was welcomed by a two-run double off the bat of Brand.
Lubach reached on a one-out single in the seventh and then scored on a double by Headley. Kaufman walked Peters, got Sanguinetti to fly out and walked Kelly with two outs to load the bases for Pritchard. Just like he did in the fourth, Nebraska’s designated hitter came through with the bases loaded as Pritchard lined a single up the middle that drove in two runs to put the Huskers ahead 11-8.
NU added an insurance run in the eight on another two-out hit. With Kalkowski on second, Headley ripped his second double in two innings, pushing the lead to 12-8.