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Nebraska’s bats take series opener

The Huskers used a four-run 8th inning to pull away from the Hoosiers

After holding Nebraska to just one run over the game’s first five innings, Indiana’s achilles heel, pitching, fell apart in the late innings to lead to a 7-3 Cornhusker victory.

After Alex Krupa gave the Hoosiers a 1-0 lead on an RBI single in the Bottom of the 3rd, Ben Miller tied the game at one by crushing a solo home run to right field in the Top of the 4th. Indiana quickly regained the lead in the bottom half of the frame when Logan Sowers hit a sacrifice fly to plate Luke Miller.

The Hoosiers had a golden chance to extend their lead in the Bottom of the 5th, when they had runners on first and second with no outs after a pair of Nebraska errors. However, Krupa popped up a sacrifice bunt attempt, before Matt Gorski flied out to left and Craig Dedelow grounded out to Miller at first to end the inning.

Nebraska made Indiana pay for its missed opportunity to extend its lead quickly, as Angelo Altavilla doubled to leadoff the inning and would later score on a Scott Schreiber sacrifice fly to tie the game.

The Huskers would take the lead on the Top of the 7th when Alvarado led off with a single and stole second before getting to throw on a fielding error on Colby Stratton on the steal attempt. Alvarado would score on Jesse Wilkening’s RBI single. The base hit also chased Hoosier starter Jonathon Stiever. But the Hoosiers did not go away, as Stratton hit a one out single before moving to second on a wild pitch. Gorski hit an RBI single to tie the game at three.

But in the 8th, the Hoosiers fell apart. BJ Sabol walked Altavilla to leadoff the inning. Sabol seemed to get Nebraska star Jake Meyers to ground into a 4-6-3 double play; however, second basemen Tony Butler bobbled the ball, leading to a fielders choice. The Huskers made Indiana pay when Schreiber doubled to put runners on second and third with one out. Manager Chris Lemonis decided not to walk Miller, who responded by ripping an RBI single to give Nebraska the lead for good. Luis Alvarado broke the game open in the next at bat, launching a three-run home run to left center field off of Austin Foote.

Indiana tried to rally in the Bottom of the 9th, but Gorski grounded out to Miller with two runners on to end the game.

While Stiever appeared to have fully recovered from his pectoral injury, giving Indiana a quality start by giving up three earned runs on seven hits in 6.1 innings pitched, the bullpen was horrid yet again for the Hoosiers. Sabol gave up three earned runs in just 1.0 IP and Foote gave up the home run to Alvarado.

Indiana’s offense has been able to mask the poor pitching during their stretch of winning 10 out of their last 12 before tonight, but Nebraska starter Jake Hohensee held the Hoosiers to just three runs on eight hits in 7.1 IP. Unlike the Hoosier bullpen, the Husker relievers shut the door on the Hoosiers as Nate Fisher and Chad Luensmann combined for 1.2 scoreless innings to end the game.

Indiana (14-10-1, 3-1 Big Ten) and Nebraska (13-10, 1-0 Big Ten) will play game two of their three game series on Saturday with first pitch set for 2:05 p.m. RHP Derek Burkamper (1-2, 3.32) will take the mound for Nebraska and RHP Brian Hobbie (2-1, 4.50) will get the start for the Hoosiers.