Lincoln – Behind a pair of home runs from Christian Cox and a career-high four hits from Austin Christensen, the No. 23 Nebraska baseball team (26-11, 5-4 Big Ten) notched a series win over the Minnesota Golden Gophers (12-19, 3-9 Big Ten) on Sunday afternoon with a 12-3 in the rubber-match of the series. The Huskers took the final two games of the series by a combined score of 19-7 after being shutout, 3-0, in the series opener.
Cox became the first Husker to hit two home runs in a game since Cody Asche blasted a pair of homer against Baylor on April 30, 2011. Both homers were two-run shots to right field and came directly after Christensen started the inning with a single. Cox is now tied with Tanner Lubach for the team lead with three home runs.
Christensen finished the day 4-for-5 with two runs scored and one RBI. The junior first baseman’s previous high for hits in a game was two.
The Huskers pounded out a season-high 17 hits on the day, including a season-high five doubles. Blake Headley hit his 13th and 14th doubles of the season, while Ben Miller, Jake Schleppenbach and Tanner Lubach each added a double. Along with Cox’s two homers, NU also notched a season-high seven extra-base hits. Six different Huskers recorded a multi-hit game, while three Huskers delivered multi-RBI performances.
The Huskers jumped on Minnesota starter Tim Shannon in the first, as Ryan Boldt started the game with an infield single and then stole second base. NU then had runners on the corners when Schleppenbach beat out a bunt, and Headley came through with a RBI double. Miller and Lubach each followed with RBI groundouts to put the Huskers ahead 3-0.
Christensen started the second with a single and Cox followed with his first home run of the day, putting the Huskers ahead 5-0.
NU starter Derek Burkamper didn’t allow a hit through the first three innings, but then struggled in the fourth when he gave up three runs on three hits. With the tying runs on base and two outs, Jeff Chesnut got the final out of the third. The junior right-handed reliever earned the win on the day to improve to 5-0 on the season.
The Husker offense responded in the bottom of the frame and got all three runs back. Christensen started the inning with a single and Cox came calling again with a homer into the visitor’s bullpen behind the right-field wall. Boldt then earned a free pass when he was HBP and scored on Schleppenbach’s double.
Nebraska’s bullpen held the Gophers scoreless the rest of the game, while NU’s offense tacked on a run in the fifth and three runs in the eighth to coast to a 12-3 win. The Huskers pounded out five hits in the eighth.
The Huskers are back in action on Tuesday night at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha for a 7:05 p.m. contest against the Creighton Bluejays. The game will be carried on CBS Sports Network. The Huskers will be home on Wednesday night against the Omaha Mavericks, before welcoming the Ohio State Buckeyes to Lincoln next weekend for a three-game series.