OMAHA, Neb. — Nebraska scored twice in the sixth inning to break a 3-3 tie and the Cornhuskers held on to defeat the No. 2 seed University of Michigan baseball team by a score of 7-3 in a Big Ten Tournament semifinal game Saturday night (May 25) at TD Ameritrade Park. The loss ended the Wolverines’ tournament run.
Michigan (41-18) loaded the bases with two outs in a tense ninth inning, but Nebraska closer Robbie Palkert got senior first baseman Jimmy Kerr to fly out to end the game.
Nebraska (31-21) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning when, with two outs, the Huskers followed an infield single with a walk, fielder’s choice without an out and a two-run fielding error.
Michigan got a run back in the bottom of the frame when sophomore center fielder Jesse Franklin laced a two-out single to right field to score senior second baseman Ako Thomas (walk) from second base on a close play at the plate.
The tough luck persisted for sophomore starter Angelo Smith in the fifth inning when a two-out hit batter led to the third Nebraska run. With the runner on first, a wild pitch and throwing error set the table for Spencer Schwellenbach, who singled to left for a 3-1 lead.
Michigan tied the game in the bottom of the fifth. Three hard singles started the inning and Thomas scored when sophomore shortstop Jack Blomgren was hit by a bases-loaded fastball. Kerr then delivered a long sacrifice fly to right-center to score sophomore designated hitter Jordan Nwogu, but Nebraska escaped further trouble.
The Michigan bullpen could not hold Nebraska down as redshirt junior left-hander Benjamin Keizer and freshman righty Willie Weiss combined to walk four batters in the sixth. Along with a double, Nebraska scored twice to claim a 5-3 lead. A throwing error and three more walks led to two more unearned runs in the eighth as the Huskers claimed a 7-3 lead to set up the ninth-inning dramatics.
Smith pitched well as he struck out six against four hits in 4.2 innings of work. Keizer (4-1) took the loss as he was touched for two earned runs in 0.2 innings. All told, Michigan hurlers issued 14 free passes in the game.
The Wolverines won three elimination games in the Big Ten Tournament before they came up short in Saturday’s second meeting with Nebraska. Winners of 41 games so far, U-M will await the NCAA Tournament selection show on Monday (May 27) at noon to find out if its season will continue.
Release by MGOBLUE.com