May 26, 2024

Huskers are Big 10 Baseball Champs!

Posted May 26, 2024 11:45 PM

Courtesy: Husker Athletics

Gabe Swansen’s game-winning RBI double in the ninth inning delivered Nebraska its fifth conference championship in program history with a 2-1 win over Penn State in front of 13,300 fans on Sunday morning at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha.

Nebraska (39-20) totaled two runs on six hits with an error, while Penn State (29-24) tallied a run on four hits with one error.

Swansen finished 2-for-4 with an RBI double, his fourth multi-hit game of the Big Ten Tournament. Josh Caron homered for the third consecutive game, while Joshua Overbeek and Case Sanderson recorded the other two Husker hits.

Jackson Brockett tossed eight strong innings for the Big Red, allowing just four hits and an earned run. The southpaw punched out five batters and walked just one, improving to 3-2 for the Huskers. Brett Sears entered in the ninth inning and set down the Nittany Lions in order to secure the first save of his career.

Penn State jumped ahead in the opening frame after a walk and two singles loaded the bases. An errant throw on a pickoff attempt at second base plated the first run of the game and put the Nittany Lions in front 1-0.

After three scoreless innings from the Husker offense, an error on Overbeek’s grounder and a single from Sanderson put runners on second and third. However, a shallow pop-up and double play on a popped up bunt attempt ended the threat in the fourth inning.

On the mound, Brockett retired the next 12 batters in order across the next four innings before a two-out single from Overbeek gave Nebraska its second base runner of the game. The Huskers were once again stifled offensively after a groundout ended the top of the sixth.

Brockett’s streak came to an end at 14 consecutive batters retired on a one-out double from Penn State’s Adam Cecere. The southpaw responded with two straight outs to strand a runner in scoring position and keep the deficit at one after six innings played.

Caron continued his scorching hot tournament with a 403-foot home run into the right-center bleachers to begin the seventh inning and even the game at one. 

The blast marked his sixth long ball of the tournament, which passed Purdue’s Dan Black (5) in 2008 for the most home runs in a single Big Ten Tournament. His 28 total bases also set a new tournament record, surpassing Ohio State’s Steve Caravati who finished the 2005 tournament with 26.

Both teams went quietly in the eighth but a two-out single from Columbus up the middle gave the Huskers life. Brumbaugh entered the game as a pinch runner and swiped second base to give NU a runner in scoring position with two outs.

Swansen then delivered the go-ahead RBI double for the Big Red into the left-center gap to score Brumbaugh and give the Huskers their first lead of the afternoon. It was the junior’s team-leading seventh extra-base hit of the tournament and 10th RBI this week for the Johnston, Iowa, native.

Sears entered in the bottom of the ninth inning for his first relief appearance of the season after throwing 99 pitches on Wednesday. The right-hander retired the side in order, ending the game on a flyout to clinch Nebraska's first-ever Big Ten Tournament title.

The Huskers secured the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA Baseball Championship Selection Show is set for tomorrow, Monday, May 27, at 10 a.m. (MT) on ESPN2.