A three-run walk-off home run by Pat Kelly in the bottom of the 10th inning propelled the No. 26 Nebraska baseball team (37-18, 18-6 Big Ten) to a 7-4 victory over the Illinois Fighting Illini (31-19, 17-7 Big Ten) in front a season-high crowd of 6,354 on Senior Day. The series win for the Huskers locked NU into the No. 2 seed at next week’s Big Ten Tournament, where they will meet the Ohio State Buckeyes on Wednesday, May 21, at 1:05 p.m.
The crowd of 6,354 fans at Hawks Field for the regular-season finale was the most for a home game since 2008, when the Huskers had 8,648 fans in attendance for their game against UC Irvine in the NCAA Tournament. It was the largest crowd for a regular-season home game since May 11, 2008, when 7,653 watched the Huskers play Texas A&M.
With the game tied 4-4 in the bottom of the 10th, freshman Ryan Boldt nearly ended the game with a deep fly to right-center field, but Casey Fletcher was able to haul in the catch and hang onto the ball after colliding with center fielder Will Krug. Jake Placzek then worked a base on balls off Illini reliever Tyler Jay and Michael Pritchard notched his 243rd career hit with a single up the middle. With the winning run in scoring position at second base, Kelly tattooed a 1-1 offering from Jay that landed behind the berm seating in left field. It was Kelly’s fourth homer of the season and the first walk-off homer by a Husker since Tanner Lubach hit one in the 2013 Big Ten Tournament against Indiana.
The come-from-behind victory marked the 12th time this season that the Huskers have earned the win after trailing or tied through six innings.
Story courtesy of NU Athletics