Lincoln – The No. 23 Nebraska baseball team (27-11, 5-4 Big Ten) came away with a 7-6 victory on Tuesday night at TD Ameritrade Park and for the third time in four games against the Creighton Bluejays (20-9, 5-1 Big East), Nebraska’s Jake Placzek delivered the game-winning hit.
A junior from La Vista, Neb., Placzek came through with a RBI single in the top of the ninth to give the Huskers a 7-6 lead. Last season, Placzek produced a walk-off single in Lincoln on March 19 and later delivered an eighth-inning two-RBI single in a 4-2 win at TD Ameritrade Park on April 8.
Josh Roeder got the final five outs of the game for the Huskers and picked up his first win of the season after notching 11 saves on the year. The senior closer last notched a win against Illinois on May 17 of last season.
The Huskers had a 6-2 lead after the third, but the Jays scored three in the seventh and one in the eighth to tie the game. Nebraska matched a season high with three errors on the evening, that resulted in three unearned runs.
Freshman Garett King started for the Huskers and left the game with a lead, but didn’t factor into the decision. After going a career-high 8.0 innings in a 5-1 win over the Jays in Lincoln on March 31, King gave up five runs, only three earned, over 6.1 innings on Tuesday night. King allowed two hits the first inning on, but then that Anaheim Hills, Calif., native found a grove allowed four hits over the next 5.1 innings. In two starts against the Jays this season, King has allowed six runs (four earned) on eight hits and two walks over 14.1 innings, while striking out eight.
After the Jays took a 2-0 lead in the first on a pair of hits and a NU error, the Husker offense responded and tied the game in the top of the second, with the tying run scoring out a two-out double off the bat of Ryan Boldt.
The two-out hits continued in the third when the Huskers plated four runs, all with two outs, to take a 6-2 lead. With Tanner Lubach on second, Austin Darby got the two-out rally started with a single that put runners on first and third. Scott Schreiber then gave the Huskers a 3-2 lead with a RBI single and Christian Cox followed with a two-RBI double. The Jays went reliever Connor Miller, but the Huskers kept hitting, as Jake Schleppenbach lined the first offering he saw from Miller into right field for a RBI single. Schleppenbach stole second to put himself in scoring position, but Miller put an end to the bleeding when he got Boldt to groundout.
Miller kept the Jays in the game by retiring the Huskers in order in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings. Miller’s effort gave the Jays’ offense a chance and they took advantage in the seventh with three runs on two hits and NU’s second error of the night. After King struck out Ryan Fitzgerald to start the inning, Harrison Crawford notched his first career home run with a blast to left field. King then gave up a single and walk, and with the tying run at the plate the Huskers went to Jeff Chesnut. The junior reliever got the ground ball he needed for a double play, but Schleppenbach committed an error and a run scored. Daniel Woodrow tacked on another run with a sacrifice fly before Chesnut got out of the inning with back-to-back groundouts, but NU’s lead was cut to 6-5.
After Miller had sent down 13 straight Huskers, NU’s Ben Miller snapped the streak with a leadoff double in the eighth. Elijah Dilday entered the game as a pinch runner and was soon 90 feet from home following a sac bunt by Darby. Dilday tried to score on a ground ball off the bat of pinch-hitter Austin Christensen, but was out on the play, 4-2-5-1.
Colton Howell took the mound for the Huskers in the eighth and was quickly in trouble after Reagan Fowler started the frame with a double and Fitzgerald later produced a one-out single to put runners on the corners. NU turned the ball over to Roeder, who struck out Crawford, but on the play Fitzgerald stole second base and a throwing error by Lubach allowed Fowler to score and tie the game, 6-6. Roeder then struck out Matt Gandy to strand the go-ahead run at second base.
With the game tied, Schleppenbach led off the ninth with a double to put the go-ahead run in scoring position for the top of NU’s lineup. Creighton turned the ball over to David Gerber, who was welcome by an infield single by Boldt that put runners on the corners. Placzek stepped lined the seventh pitch he saw from Gerber back through the box for a go-ahead RBI single. Gerber then got a double play and a ground out to end the top of the ninth.
Roeder came back to the mound and struck out Kevin Connolly to start the frame, Roeder’s third strikeout of the night. Kevin Lamb then singled up the middle to put the tying run on base with the top of CU’s order coming to the plate, but Roeder stranded Lamb at first base with a fly out and a 4-3 putout, sealing the Huskers’ 27th win of the season.
Nebraska will be back home at Hawks Field tomorrow night to host the Omaha Mavericks, with first pitch set for 6:35 p.m. The game will be streamed live on BTN Plus.