A game-tying two-RBI triple from Pat Kelly followed by a walk-off single from Kale Kiser completed a dramatic ninth-inning comeback by the Nebraska baseball team (22-12, 5-4 Big Ten) on Sunday afternoon at Hawks Field, as the Huskers rallied for a 9-8 win to take the three-game series over the Iowa Hawkeyes, 2-1.
Trailing 8-5 going into the bottom of the ninth, Kash Kalkowski led off with a single and scored following a pair of singles from Richard Stock and Josh Scheffert. Freshman Austin Darby then moved his Scheffert and Stock to second and third, respectively, with a sacrifice bunt, setting the table for Kelly. With just one hit in his previous four at bats on the afternoon and behind in the count, Kelly blasted a 1-2 slider from closer Nick Brown over Kris Goodman’s head in center field, tying the game with his second triple of the season. With nearly 3,000 Husker fans on their feet, Kiser came to the plate for his first at bat of the game after coming in as a defensive replacement in the top of the frame and roped an 0-2 pitch for a single into right field that easily scored Kelly from third for the game winner.
The Husker comeback was also made possible by the effort of Travis Huber on the mound, who picked up his first win as a Husker with 1.2 innings of shutout ball. The junior righty came into the game in the eighth with one out and runners on first and second. He retired the next two Hawkeyes to end the inning and was nearly perfect on the afternoon, but gave up a two-out walk in the ninth before striking out Taylor Zeutenhorst to keep Iowa’s lead at four.
Kalkowski led the Husker offense on the day by going 3-for-5 at the plate with one RBI, while five other Huskers has a pair of hits. Scheffert notched his fourth home run of the season with a leadoff shot in the bottom of the second to put the Huskers up 2-1.
NU took a 4-1 lead into the sixth inning, but the Hawkeyes posted two runs in the sixth, two more in the seventh and three in the eighth to take a 9-4 lead.
The Huskers cut the Hawkeyes’ lead to four in the bottom of the eighth when Darby scored on an RBI groundout by Sanguinetti, his second RBI of the day. After Huber made quick work of the Hawkeyes in the top of the ninth, the Huskers came through with their second walk-off win of the year.
With nine conference games in the books and a pair of series wins, the Huskers now get ready to host the Creighton Bluejays on Tuesday night at Hawks Field. It will be the first of three games between the two in-state programs this season and they will square off in front of a national-television audience on the Big Ten Network, with first pitched schedule for 6:35 p.m.