Buckeyes Drop Doubleheader, Series to Huskers
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Cornhuskers Kash Kalkowski and Dale Kiser combined for four hits and four RBIs in Nebraska's 5-4 win over the Buckeyes in the first game.
The second game was dominated by Nebraska's Josh Scheffert and Richard Stock, who combined to go 7-11 at the plate, scoring five runs and driving in nine runs. Scheffert finished with seven RBIs by himself.
The wins move Nebraska (25-13, 7-5) ahead of Ohio State (21-14, 6-6) in the Big Ten standings.
Nebraska got the scoring started when Huskers left fielder Kale Kiser sent one into the jet stream in left center for a two-out two-run homerun in the second inning, bringing home Josh Scheffert who singled earlier in the inning.
The Buckeyes answered right back with three runs in the bottom half of the inning to take the lead. Patrick Porter led off the inning with a walk and then came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Kirby Pellant. Tim Wetzel then finished off the inning with a two-run double that scored Aaron Gretz and Joe Ciamacco to make it 3-2 Buckeyes.
Ohio State added another run in the third inning when Huskers starting pitcher Brandon Pierce walked two batters, and Ryan Cypret came around to score on a throwing error by Chad Christensen.
Nebraska tied the game in the fifth inning when Kash Kalkowski hit a wind-carried two-run homerun to right field. The fifth inning was Buckeye starting pitcher Brian King's final inning, as he gave way to Brett McKinney in the sixth. King finished with 5.0 innings pitched with five hits given up and four earned runs. He struck out two and walked two in the process.
Scheffert led off the eighth inning for the Huskers with a homerun to left field that would have let the park even if the wind was blowing in. McKinney then hit Cory Burleson, and Kiser hit a bunt single to put men on first and second with no outs. A sacrifice bunt by Bryan Peters put runners on second and third with one out, but Andrew Armstrong came on for McKinney and retired the next two batters with flyballs to left field.
Down by a run entering the bottom of the ninth, the Buckeyes sent the top of the order to the plate. Wetzel led off with a single up the middle, and following a Cypret strikeout and flyout by Brad Hallberg, Josh Dezse grounded out to third to end the ballgame.
"I thought the first game, they beat us," Buckeye coach Greg Beals said. "It was a good baseball game, they got a big hit with the solo homerun that ended up being the difference in the game.
"We didn't get the big hit when we needed to. If we could have added a hit in a couple of different spots, just a two-out hit, we would've won."
Brett McKinney (4-4) took the loss for the Buckeyes.
Nebraska again kicked off the scoring when Richard Stock led off the second inning with a double, and then scored on a Scheffert single. A diving stop by shortstop Kirby Pellant five batters later, however, held the Huskers to just one run in the inning.
As they have for much of the season, the Buckeyes answered back in the bottom of the inning when Ryan Cypret hit his fourth homerun of the year off the top of the wall in dead center field to tie the game at 1-1. Ohio State loaded the bases with a walk and two straight base hits following Cypret's homer, but couldn't bring anybody else home.
The Buckeyes took the lead 2-1 in the third inning when a ground out by Corna, who finished with three RBIs on the day, brought Brad Hallberg home, who was previously on third base thanks to a Dezse double to right center.
While the offense kept answering the bell for Ohio State, the defense certainly did not in the top of the fourth inning. Scheffert led off the inning and reached first via an errant throw from the second baseman Cypret. A single from Austin Darby put runners on first and third, and then a ground ball to Dezse at first was booted, allowing Scheffert to score from third base.
Pat Kelly was then hit by a John Kuchno pitch to load the bases with nobody out. A single through the right side by Michael Pritchard scored two more, making it 4-2 for the Huskers. A single back up the middle by Rich Sanguinetti scored another, which then got the bullpen going for the Buckeyes.
A bouncer back to Kuchno led to an error when Kuchno's throw home pulled catcher Greg Solomon off of the plate, allowing a sixth run to reach the scoreboard. Richard Stock followed that up by singling up the middle, scoring two more for Nebraska and chasing Kuchno from the game.
Nebraska added five more runs in the fifth inning thanks to a pair of walks and a hit batter, which led to an RBI sacrifice fly and an RBI infield single, as well as a three-run double by Josh Scheffert, making it 13-2. The Huskers brought one more across the plate in the sixth inning as well.
"We didn't play very good baseball and we helped them out a lot," Beals said. "They scored twelve runs in the fourth and fifth innings, five of them unearned. We facilitated a lot of what they were able to get today.
"The disappointing part was the fourth, fifth and sixth inning. We didn't score. We didn't respond to their blows. I told the guys that we spent a little bit of time questioning, instead of making sure that we were ready to throw the next punch."
The Buckeyes finally got back in the board in the seventh inning when Corna hit an RBI double, and was then brought home when Pat Porter singled to centerfield. That was all Ohio State could manage, however, and went to the eighth inning trailing 14-4.
Nebraska answered with three more in the top of the ninth inning thanks to a three-run homerun from Josh Scheffert to end the Huskers' scoring at 17 runs on the afternoon.
The Buckeyes weren't done, however, as Porter scored on a Ryan Leffel single, and then Solomon came home on a Phil Jaskot base hit, making it 17-6. Hallberg then added a three-run homerun over the left field wall to make it 17-9.
The Buckeyes out-hit the Huskers 18-16, but simply couldn't overcome four errors, five walks, and four hit batters.
"I wish we would have made them beat us," Beals said. "If we're going to lose, I want the other team to beat us."
John Kuchno took the loss for the Buckeyes, throwing 3.1 innings and giving up seven hits and eight runs (three earned).
"The one thing that I like, and I told our guys this, even in the second game, I feel really good about how we're playing," Beals said.
"Our guys took a punch in the gut in the fourth and fifth inning, but I like how our guys are playing. They've earned some confidence from me, and we need to make sure we recover that and put today away.
"I'm not okay with losing, but we just came off seven straight where we had things going good, and we can't let this one day go into a different streak."
- The Buckeyes set a season high with 18 hits in Game 2.
- Josh Dezse produced his 26th multi-hit game of his career and his fourth three-hit game of the season. He also led all Buckeyes with seven hits in the series.
- Dezse has reached base safely in 34 of 35 contests this season.
- With a strong wind blowing out of the park, the teams combined for six home runs in the doubleheader Sunday.
- Ohio State is 56 of 69 in stolen bases after going 35 of 57 all last season.
- Six Ohio State batters had two or more hits in Game 2.
- Tim Wetzel recorded his second multiple-RBI game of the season in Game 1.
- Brad Hallberg tied a career-high with three RBI after a three-run homerun in Game 2.
- David Corna notched his fifth multiple-RBI game of the season with a trio in Game 2.
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