Nebraska baseball clinches regular season conference title
University Park, Pa. – The Nebraska baseball team (34-18-1, 16-7-1 Big Ten) hammered 18 hits in a 21-3 win over Penn State to capture the Big Ten regular-season title on a rainy Saturday afternoon at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
Nebraska captures its first Big Ten regular-season crown since joining the conference prior to the 2012 season. This is the seventh regular-season conference title won by Nebraska (1929 Big Six; 1948 and 1950 Big Seven; 2001, 2003 and 2005 Big 12).
Junior left-hander Jake Meyers made his 13th start of the season, and threw 6.0 scoreless innings, allowing one hit while striking out a career-high seven batters. Matt Waldron (2.0 innings) and Nate Fisher (1.0 inning) each made relief appearances.
Nebraska took a 7-0 lead after the top of the first inning. The Huskers produced three hits, with Ben Miller and Angelo Altavilla each doubling and Mojo Hagge singling. Three Huskers were walked and three Huskers reached on a hit-by-pitch. The first four Huskers reached base before back-to-back groundouts. The inning continued six batters later before a groundout ended the inning. Meyers retired all three Nittany Lion batters in the bottom of the first.
The Huskers added three runs in the second inning off four hits. Miller, Luis Alvarado and Luke Roskam singled in the first three at-bats and each scored. Jesse Wilkening was hit by a pitch and Hagge produced a single before the inning ended with a flyout. Penn State went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the second.
NU managed one base runner, Scott Schreiber, who advanced to third on a passed ball after reaching on an error by the right fielder. He couldn’t score after back-to-back outs. Penn State got its first baserunner in the bottom of the third, but Meyers forced two flyouts and a strikeout to end the inning.
Jake Schleppenbach doubled down the right field line after a pair of outs to begin NU’s fourth inning. He was left on-base after a flyout ended the inning. Meyers retired all three PSU hitters in the bottom half of the frame.
Altavilla reached on an error in the fifth, and scored after a Schreiber triple. Schreiber scored when Miller grounded out, increasing the lead to 12-0. Meyers struck out two Nittany Lions and forced a flyout to right field.
After Nebraska’s leadoff hitter struck out in the sixth, Wilkening reached on an error and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Schleppenbach walked, and Hagge singled to drive in Wilkening. Meyers walked to load the bases and Altavilla singled to bring in a pair of runs. Schreiber drove in two more runs with his single up the middle. Miller added a hit that moved Schreiber to second, and both baserunners advanced on a wild pitch. Schreiber attempted to score on a wild pitch, but was tagged out at home. Back-to-back walks loaded the bases, but all three Huskers were left stranded. In all, NU scored five runs on four hits in the top of the sixth. Meyers added two strikeouts to set a new career high with seven, as he retired all three Nittany Lion batters.
Leadoff hitter Schleppenbach singled in the seventh, but NU was unable to score after a pair of fielder’s choice outs and a flyout. Waldron came to the mound in the bottom of the seventh and retired all three Nittany Lions batters he faced.
Schleppenbach hit a grand slam in the top of the eighth after the first three Huskers reached base. Hagge then doubled off the right field wall and Altavilla was walked, but both were left on-base.
Two Huskers were walked in the top of the ninth, but a double play ended the inning. Penn State managed three runs in the bottom of the ninth before Nebraska recorded the final out.
The Huskers return to action next week when they head to Bloomington, Ind., for the Big Ten Tournament.