Minneapolis, Minn. – The Nebraska baseball team (12-8, 3-1 Big Ten) suffered its first conference loss of the season and had its six-game winning streak snapped when Minnesota hit a walk-off home run in the 10th inning at Siebert Field on Friday evening. The game went in to extra innings tied 2-2, but the Golden Gophers won by a 5-2 final score.
Senior righty Matt Waldron, making his fourth start of the season, went 8.0 innings and allowed only two runs, while recording seven strikeouts and only walked one Gopher. During his outing, Waldron reached 199 career strikeouts, which puts him in ninth place alone, passing Zach Kroenke’s 196 K’s. Jamie Rodrigue ranks eighth on NU’s career strikeouts chart with 200 K’s.
In the top of the opening frame, Mojo Hagge smashed a leadoff home run, the fourth of his career. Two batters later, Luke Roskam ripped his 100th career hit, but was left on base. Minnesota managed a one-out double, but left two runners on in a scoreless bottom of the first.
Colby Gomes hit an infield single in the top of the second and made it to second base, but was left stranded as NU retained its 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the second, the Gophers went down in order.
All three Husker hitters in the top of the third were retired with two groundouts and a strikeout. Minnesota scored one run in the bottom of the third to tie the game at 1-1. The Gophers managed two hits during the inning, but left one runner on base.
Roskam drew a leadoff walk before Joe Acker singled, but a strikeout and double play ended a scoreless frame for the Big Red. Minnesota went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the fourth.
The Huskers went down in order in the top of the fifth with two flyouts and a groundout. Minnesota took its first lead of the game at 2-1 with one run in the bottom of the fifth. Each of the first two Gophers managed hits with a leadoff double and RBI single. A popped up bunt, pickoff at first base and strikeout ended the inning.
The Huskers went down in order in the top of the sixth with two groundouts and a strikeout. Minnesota got a runner to third base in the bottom of the sixth, but he was left stranded. The Gophers managed two hits during the frame.
In the top of the seventh, NU scored one run to tie the score at 2-2. Acker hit a leadoff single and stole second. Cam Chick drove him in with a single of his own after back-to-back strikeouts. The Gophers went down in order in the bottom of the seventh as Waldron recorded two strikeouts.
The Huskers went down 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth with two strikeouts. Minnesota managed a one-out single, but left him stranded as the other three Gopher hitters each flied out to center field.
The Gopher pitcher struck out the side in the top of the ninth. Palkert came on in relief and retired all three Gopher batters in the bottom of the ninth to send the game in to extra innings.
In the top of the 10th, Chick ripped a double before Alex Henwood singled. But like the ninth, Minnesota’s reliever struck out the other three Husker batters to keep NU from scoring, as NU’s runners remained stranded at second and third.
In the bottom of the 10th, Minnesota put two runners on with one out after a leadoff single and intentional walk bookended a sacrifice bunt. Eli Wilson hit the walk-off home run to left field to drive in both runners and complete a 4-for-5 performance.
The Huskers and Gophers continue their series on Saturday at 1 p.m. (CT).