The day after a heartbreaking 10-9 loss to Michigan State, Nebraska bounced back at the Big Ten Tournament with a 12-3 win over Penn State Thursday afternoon in Columbus, Ohio.
Ryan Hander (3-0) gave up two earned runs in 6.1 innings, striking out a career-high seven batters. He received plenty of offensive support with 18 hits, including a 4-for-5 performance and a career-high five RBIs from freshman Pat Kelly. Chad Christensen blasted his team-leading 10th home run of the season.
Richard Stock extended his hitting streak to 20 games with a lead-off single in the second. Along with Michael Prichard's 25-game hitting streak earlier this year, it marks the first time in school history that teammates have each produced hitting streaks of 20 game or more in the same season. Pritchard's streak is the third-longest in school history and Stock tied Jeff Hedman (1998) and John Cole (2001) for the sixth-longest streak.
Sean Deegan put the Nittany Lions (29-27) up 1-0 with his 12th home run of the season in the bottom of the first. The Huskers tied it in the fourth on Stock's double and Kelly's RBI single.
Pritchard and Rich Sanguinetti started the fifth with back-to-back singles. Christensen then laid down a sacrifice bunt third baseman Matt Paradise threw into foul territory down the right-field line, allowing Pritchard to score and sending Sanguinetti to third and Christensen to second. Stock followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Sanguinetti and Josh Scheffert roped a single to score Christensen.
NU blew the game open in the sixth with five runs on seven hits, including three straight bunt singles. With the bases loaded and no outs following bunts by Cory Burleson, Pritchard and Sanguinetti. Christensen singled and Stock doubled. Following a strikeout by Scheffert, Kelly knocked his third single of the day to score both Christensen and Stock to put the Huskers up 9-1.
The Huskers (35-22, 14-10 Big Ten) will be back at Huntington Park at 11:05 a.m. Friday with an opponent to be determined. No. 6 Ohio State is taking on No. 1 Purdue Thursday while No. 5 Michigan State plays No. 2 Indiana.