A combined shutout from Christian DeLeon and Dylan Vogt, along with three RBIs from Josh Scheffert powered the Nebraska baseball team (22-25, 13-6) to a series opening win, 6-0, over the Minnesota Golden Gophers (28-17, 11-5). The Huskers entered the weekend fourth in the Big Ten standings, while the Gophers were at the top of the conference.
A RBI single from Scheffert in the top of the first was all the Huskers would need on the day, but the senior added a solo home run in the eighth and a sacrifice fly in the ninth to drive in three of Nebraska’s six runs.
Kash Kalkowski and Tanner Lubach each added two hits, including a double and a triple from Kalkowski. Eight of Nebraska’s nine starters had a hit on the day, as the Huskers totaled 11 hits off a Minnesota staff that entered the week ranked 12th in the country with 7.43 hits allowed per game.
DeLeon gave the Huskers 6.0 shutout innings in his 13th start of the season. It marked the 11th time this season the 6-3 righty has gone 6.0 or more innings on the year. The Richmond, Texas, native limited the Gophers to three hits and a pair of walks, while striking out three.
Vogt took over in the seventh and retired seven straight Gophers, before Ryan Abrahamson reached on a one-out single. Dan Olinger followed with a single, before Vogt induced a game-ending 1-6-3 double play off the bat of Mark Tatera. With his 3.0 innings of work, Vogt picked up eight save of the season.
For the Gophers, junior Tom Windle gave up a pair of runs (one earned) on eight hits and two walks, but did punchout nine Huskers. The 6-2 lefty, who is a projected top-three round draft pick, worked out of multiple jams on the afternoon, stranding nine Huskers in the first seven innings of the game.
While Nebraska’s bullpen closed out the game, Minnesota’s bullpen coughed up four runs (three earned) in the top of the ninth to give the Huskers some insurance.
In the first, the Huskers took advantage of an error by Windle to take a 1-0 lead. Michael Pritchard hit a soft one-out ground ball in front of the mound, but Windle was unable to retire the NU junior as he threw it into right field, allowing Pritchard to coast into second base. Chad Christensen followed with his 69th hit of the year to put runners on the corners for the Huskers with one down. Windle notched his second strikeout of the inning when he sat down Kalkowski, but was unable to retire Scheffert, who dropped a RBI single into center field that put the Huskers ahead, 1-0.
Minnesota responded by getting runners on the corners with one down in the bottom of the first following a hit-by-pitch and a single, but DeLeon struck out Abrahamson looking and got a fly ball off the bat of Olinger to retire the Gophers.
The Huskers had their leadoff man on in both the second and third innings on base hits, but Windle was able to strand each to keep the Husker lead at 1-0 through three complete.
DeLeon retired his seventh straight Gopher for the second out in the third inning, before Kurt Schlangen worked a walk. It was the first walk given up to DeLeon since the righty walked a pair in a win at Purdue on April 20. DeLeon quickly ended the inning by retiring Henkemeyer 4-1.
The Gophers got a runner on in the fourth with a one-out single from Olinger, UM’s second hit of the game. DeLeon got a fly out and Lubach threw out Olinger stealing to end the inning to keep NU on top 1-0.
Kalkowski put the Huskers in position to add a run in the sixth with a leadoff double off the left-field wall, his 12th of the year. Windle bounced back and retired three straight Huskers, stranding Kalkowski at third and keeping NU’s lead to one, 1-0.
Minnesota got its leadoff man on for the first time on the afternoon in the bottom of the sixth with a single by Connor Schaefbauer, who then moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Schlangen. Following a flyout by Henkemeyer, Abrahamson worked a walk to put the go-ahead run on base. DeLeon dug in and got a Olinger to fly out to Christensen in right field, stranding a pair of Gophers.
For the second straight inning the Huskers were in prime position to add to their lead in the seventh, but were unable to come through with a clutch hit. Following a one-out single by No. 9 hitter Wes Edrington, both Pat Kelly and Pritchard worked full-count walks to load the bases. With NU’s No. 3 and 4 hitters up, Windle got consecutive ground balls to first base to escape the jam without any damage.
Hanging onto a 1-0 lead, Scheffert gave the Huskers some breathing room with a leadoff homer in the eight over the left-field wall. It was his second homer of the season and the 17th of his NU career.
Nebraska blew the game open in the ninth with four runs on three hits. Kelly produced a hit following a leadoff walk to Edrington, Rich Sanguinetti extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a single and Kalkowski added a RBI triple. Scheffert and Christensen each came through with sacrifice flys as well.
The Huskers return to Siebert Field tomorrow for game two of the three game series at 2:05 p.m.