With the chance to win its first Big Ten road series of the year on the line, the Nebraska baseball team (33-17, 8-10 Big Ten) delivered an 11-0 shutout against the Northwestern Wildcats (15-31, 5-13 Big Ten) on Sunday afternoon at Rocky Miller Park. Sophomore Derek Burkamper started and went 7.0 strong innings, while all nine of Nebraska’s starters tallied a hit, including three each from Ryan Boldt and Tanner Lubach. Nebraska scored in sixth different innings on the afternoon, including multiple runs in four innings.
After not making it through the fifth inning in each of his last three starts, Burkamper put together one of his best outings of the season on Sunday. The right hander improved to 5-2 on the year with his worked at least 7.0 innings for the third time this season. Burkamper set a new career high with seven strikeouts, while allowing six hits and three walks. He stranded eight Wildcats on the afternoon.
A day after Northwestern starter Matt Portland tossed a complete-game shutout against the Huskers, starter Reed Mason lasted just 3.0 innings. The lefty gave up five runs on six hits and two walks, while notching just one strikeout.
Boldt went 3-for-6 on the day with two runs scored and RBIs. Blake Headley also added two runs, while freshman Luis Alvarado led the way with three RBIs on two hits.
The Huskers gave Burkamper a 2-0 lead in the second with four singles, including a two-out single by Boldt that scored Scott Schreiber for the second run of the inning.
After Burkamper stranded a pair of runners in the bottom of the second, the Huskers added three runs in the third. Ben Miller nearly notched his fourth homer of the season to start the inning, but the deep fly ball was hauled in at the wall in left-center field. Lubach got the Huskers started with a single and was soon in scoring position following a walk to Headley. Mason then got Austin Darby to ground out before loading the bases with a walk to Schreiber. Alvarado stepped in and facing a 1-2 count the freshman ripped a bases-clearing double down the left-field line that gave the Huskers a 5-0 lead.
Northwestern tried to answer in the bottom of the third when it had its first two batters of the inning reach. With one out, Jack Mitchel looked to have a single, but shortstop Jake Placzek climbed the ladder and snagged the liner. The Wildcats still had runners on the corners and Burkamper kept them there with a fly out to Alvarado in left field off the bat of Reid Hunter.
Nebraska added a run for the third straight inning in the fourth, with the run coming in on a two-out hit. Boldt led off the frame with a single and was at third with two outs for Lubach. The Husker catcher roped a 1-0 pitch from reliever Tommy Bordignon to left field that extended Nebraska’s lead to 6-0. Bordignon then loaded the bases with back-to-back walks to Headley and Darby, but denied the Huskers a big inning with a 4-3 groundout off the bat of Schreiber.
Burkamper retired his seventh straight Wildcat to start the fifth before Scott Heelan snapped the streak with a single. Zach Jones then worked a walk and the Wildcats had two on with one out, but Burkamper quickly ended the threat with a 5-3 double play off Mitchell.
Even through Burkamper didn’t need it, the Husker offense tagged on two more runs in the seventh and one in the eighth. Schleppenbach and Boldt each picked up their second RBIs of the day in the seventh to give Nebraska a 8-0 lead. Miller then led off the eighth with his fourth home run of the season and the Huskers took a 9-0 lead to the bottom of the eighth.
Freshman Garett King took over for Burkamper in the eighth and faced the minimum to keep the shutout intact. Nebraska kept the runs coming in the top of the ninth with a RBI double from Placzek and a RBI groundout from Miller.
Jake Meyers polished off the shutout with a 1-2-3 ninth inning, including Nebraska’s eighth strikeout of the day.
The Huskers will be off for the next five days as they take final exams. Nebraska gets back to action next weekend when they host Purdue for the final home series of the year. The series runs Saturday-Sunday-Monday, with the opener set for 2:05 p.m.