Nebraska baseball came into Saturday's matchup with Minnesota red hot after scoring 12 runs in its series opening win Friday evening, looking to take the series outright in game two.
Continuing momentum from Friday’s game, the bats got rolling early and often for both sides in the contest.
Huskers sophomore pitcher Emmett Olson struggled early, giving up six hits to the Golden Gophers through three innings.
With two outs in the top of the first, sophomore second baseman Max Anderson drove home freshman right fielder Garrett Anglim with a single to center field, giving the Huskers a 1-0 lead.
The next two ensuing Husker batters were walked, loading the bases for senior first baseman Colby Gomes. Aided by a bit of poor fielding, Gomes reached first safely via an error from Minnesota junior shortstop Noah Berghammer, which scored Anderson from third.
Down 2-0, the Golden Gophers responded in the bottom of the first, ripping back-to-back singles to lead off the inning. The next Minnesota batter laid down a beautiful sacrifice bunt, advancing both runners into scoring position.
Olson then tried to regain his composure, striking out Minnesota junior catcher Riley Swenson for the second out of the inning. Unfortunately for Olson, inconsistent pitching killed his momentum.
The next batter Olson faced was thrown a horrendous wild pitch, easily scoring the runner from third while advancing the second runner to third. After the wild pitch, Olson walked two more Golden Gophers, loading the bases with two outs.
Sophomore infielder Kyle Bork came up clutch for Minnesota, singling past Huskers freshman shortstop Core Jackson, scoring two more runs to give Minnesota a 3-2 lead after just the first inning of play.
In the second inning, runs continued to jump on the board as the Huskers singled three times in the top of the frame, bringing in a pair of runs to retake the lead 4-3.
Gomes kept the bats hot for the Huskers in the third, sending a solo shot to left field to take a 5-3 advantage.
Minnesota junior infielder Drew Stahl doubled down the right field line in the bottom of the third, scoring another Gopher run on an Anderson throwing error at second. Olson was then able to end the inning with a groundout to third base with the lead cut to one run at 5-4.
In the top of the sixth inning the Huskers got a double to fall from Anderson with two outs, but could not bring him in to score.
Entering the bottom of the sixth, Husker manager Will Bolt made his first pitching change, bringing in junior reliever Mason Ornelas. Ornelas lasted two-thirds of an inning, surrendering a run before he was also pulled by Bolt, this time for senior pitcher Tyler Martin.
After the run given up by Ornelas to tie the game up at 5-5 the bats came alive yet again for the Huskers.
Jackson reached first base via a Golden Gopher error to lead off the seventh inning and then stole second with junior outfielder Luke Sartori in the batter’s box.
Sartori was able to work a walk, leading to the second and third stolen bases of the inning as both Jackson and Sartori advanced into scoring position. The ensuing Husker batter, senior third baseman Efry Cervantes, was walked to once again load the bases.
After making a pitching change, the Golden Gophers continued to struggle on the mound as Husker senior outfielder Cam Chick singled to left field to score both runners in scoring position, retaking the lead at 7-5.
Anglim then stepped into the box and was thrown a wild pitch to advance both Cervantes and Chick into scoring position. With only one out, Anglim grounded back to the Minnesota pitcher who chose to take the easy out at first, scoring Cervantes, with Nebraska’s lead up to three runs.
Martin, in total, allowed zero hits in 1.2 innings before getting replaced by junior pitcher Braxton Bragg in the eighth.
After Martin was pulled, Minnesota mounted a rally.
With runners on first and second base and one out in the bottom of the eighth, Husker senior catcher Griffin Everitt made a crucial error on an overthrow to Gomes at first, trying to pick off the runner. The throw traveled all the way to the right field wall, allowing both runners to advance home which cut Nebraska’s lead to 8-7 entering the ninth inning.
The Huskers could not get anything going in the top of the ninth inning, giving the Gophers one last chance to either tie or win the game.
The lead off hitter for Minnesota singled to right field, putting the tying run on base.
Swenson then stepped up to the plate and delivered the second successful sacrifice bunt of the night for the Golden Gophers, advancing the runner into scoring position with just one out. Bragg uncharacteristically walked the ensuing Minnesota batter, putting a second man on base.
Minnesota’s rally continued as senior designated hitter Chase Stanke singled to right field, scoring the tying run.
However, the Huskers got out of the inning as Bragg struck out the next batter and forced the ensuing batter into a groundout, pushing the game into extra innings.
A diving tag at the plate ended the Huskers’ half of the 10th inning, with the score tied at 8-8. Nebraska worked through Minnesota’s bats in the bottom of the frame, pushing the game further into extra innings.
The 11th inning went with no damage done to the scoreboard, leading to the third extra inning of the night.
Little got going at the plate for the Huskers in the top of the 12th, giving Minnesotayet another chance to take it at home. This time, the Golden Gophers delivered.
Stahl singled through the left side to lead off for the Gophers, followed by a groundout that advanced Stahl into scoring position.
With one out, the Huskers decided to intentionally walk the next Golden Gopher batter in hopes of turning a double play. Unfortunately for the Huskers, Bragg finally ran out of gas and surrendered another single through the left side of the infield, scoring the winning run from second to hand Minnesota a 9-8 win.
The Huskers will take on Minnesota for the third and final time this season on Sunday morning in a series deciding matchup.