The Nebraska baseball team (35-23, 14-10 Big Ten) saw its first conference tournament appearance since 2008 come to an end on Friday afternoon at Huntington Park with a 6-2 loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes. The Huskers out hit the Buckeyes, 9-8, but NU stranded 10 runners on the afternoon and committed three errors in the field. Josh Scheffert, Kash Kalkowski and Rich Sanguinetti each had two hits, while Kalkowski, Richard Stock and Cory Burleson each notched a double on the day.
Nebraska starter Dexter Spitsnogle cruised through the first inning by facing just three Buckeyes, as Burleson caught Tim Wetzel stealing after he reached on a leadoff walk. Spitsnogle was unable to make it through the second though, as OSU took a 2-0 lead on three hits. After Spitsnogle walked in the second run of the inning, Head Coach Darin Erstad brought in Dylan Vogt, who promptly struck out Ryan Cypret to end threat.
The Huskers first scoring threat came in the top of the fourth when Kalkowski hit a ground-rule double down the right-field line and moved to third when Sanguinetti followed with an infield single. Kale Kiser was unable to add a third straight two-out hit off OSU starter Brian King to drive in NU’s first run.
Ohio State struck again in the bottom of the fourth with a leadoff triple from Kirby Pellant that was followed by a single from Greg Solomon to put OSU up 3-0. Vogt came right back with a strikeout and a 4-6-3 double play to keep OSU from adding anything else to its lead.
Nebraska was in position to score again in the top of the fifth with runners on the corners and one down following a pair of Buckeye errors, but King got Chad Christensen to ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
The hits finally came at the right time for the Huskers in the top of the sixth, as NU scored two runs on two hits to cut OSU’s lead to one run, 3-2. Scheffert led off with a walk and scored from first on Stock’s 20th double of the season. Stock then crossed the plate on a single up the middle by Kalkowski. NU’s threat quickly came to a halt when Sanguinetti popped up a bunt, Kiser lined out on a rocket to the shortstop and Burleson struck out.
OSU got one run back in the seventh on the Huskers’ third error of the game. Wetzel led off the inning with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Cypret. Vogt then got a ground ball to Scheffert, but the NU third baseman threw the ball short to Stock at first, allowing Wetzel to score and Brad Hallberg to move to second. Freshman Aaron Bummer entered the game for NU and got the Huskers out of the inning without any other damage done.
The Huskers had the tying run on base in the top of the eighth following a leadoff single from Scheffert and a two-out infield single from Sanguinetti, but once again the OSU got an out when it needed it with a fly out by Kiser for the third out.
The Buckeyes added two insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth on two hits. David Corna led off with a single and scored on Pellant’s second triple of the game. OSU’s shortstop then scored on a sacrifice fly by Solomon.
Burleson led off the ninth for the Huskers with a double into the left-center field gap off closer Josh Dezse, but NU was unable to get anything else going, as Dezse got consecutive fly outs and a strikeout to secure the win and eliminate the Huskers from the 2012 Big Ten Tournament.