Nebraska suffered its second walk off loss in three days as it fell to Minnesota 3-2 in the second game of a doubleheader on Sunday.
The defeat moved the Huskers’ record to 13-9 (4-2 Big Ten) this season.
Nebraska’s starting pitcher, senior Reece Eddins, went seven innings and allowed two runs on seven hits. He also struck out seven batters and walked one.
Sophomore pitcher Joshua Culliver got the start for the Gophers. The Creighton Prep graduate and Nebraska native allowed two runs and four hits over five innings while walking three batters and striking out six.
Culliver sent down the first two batters of the day, but a two-out rally got the Huskers on the board in the top of the first inning. Sophomore outfielder Aaron Palensky reached on an error and a single by sophomore catcher Gunner Hellstrom put runners on the corners.
Junior outfielder Joe Acker came through for Nebraska, hitting a double to right center field to score Palensky and Hellstrom to give the Huskers an early 2-0 lead.
Minnesota wasted little time to even things up. Senior outfielder Ben Mezzenga and junior catcher Eli Wilson both singled to start the bottom of the first inning. A sacrifice bunt moved the two runners over to second and third base with one out.
Two batters later, junior infielder Jordan Kozicky hit a two-RBI single and tied the game up at 2-2.
After a noisy first inning, both teams’ offenses went quiet. Over the next three innings, Nebraska and Minnesota each failed to get a runner past second base and each team only got a runner to second on one occasion. The game headed into the fifth inning still tied at two.
The pitchers’ duel continued as both teams struggled to gain an advantage. In the fifth and sixth innings, Nebraska stranded three runners on base. Over that same span, Minnesota only managed one baserunner.
Both teams went three-up, three-down in the seventh inning to send the game to the eighth inning still tied 2-2. Nebraska got a lead-off walk from Palensky, but could not take advantage in the top half of the inning. Minnesota’s batters were put down in order in the bottom of the eighth.
In the top of the ninth inning, senior infielder Angelo Altavilla hit a single and advanced to second base on a wild pitch to put himself in scoring position with one out. After freshman infielder Colby Gomes struck out, Altavilla stole third to move the Huskers within 90 feet of taking the lead.
Sophomore infielder Jaxon Hallmark walked and advanced to second to put two runners in scoring position for junior outfielder Mojo Hagge. Hagge could not complete the rally, striking out to end the inning.
Minnesota finally broke through in the bottom of the ninth inning. Wilson walked to begin the inning and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. The Gophers then brought in senior infielder Riley Smith to pinch run for Wilson.
Sophomore outfielder Easton Bertrand struck out, but stayed alive as a passed ball allowed him to get to first and Smith took third on the same play.
Nebraska intentionally walked Kozicky to load the bases, but another passed ball kept senior infielder Cole McDevitt alive after striking out and allowed Smith to score and win the game for the Gophers 3-2. Minnesota managed to load the bases and earn a walk-off win without getting a base hit in the ninth inning.
Nebraska will stay on the road for its next contest against the Kansas State Wildcats on Tuesday, April 2. First pitch is set for 6:00 p.m. and the game will air on ESPN3.