University Park, Pa. – The Nebraska baseball team (33-18-1, 15-7-1 Big Ten) stays in contention for a Big Ten title after notching a 3-1 win over Penn State (18-36, 4-19 Big Ten) at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park on Friday night.
Senior right-hander Derek Burkamper made his 13th start of the season and threw 5.0 scoreless innings. Jake McSteen (2.2 innings) and Luis Alvarado (1.1 innings) made relief appearances.
In the top of the first, all three Husker batters were retired with two strikeouts. Penn State threatened to score with a pair of baserunners, but a groundout to second base ended the inning.
Ben Miller drew a leadoff walk in the second, but the next three Huskers struck out. The Nittany Lions had one hit and the baserunner advanced to third after a stolen base and throwing error by the catcher. He was stranded after a Burkamper strikeout.
The Huskers went 1-2-3 in the top of the third. NU’s defense responded with three outs of its own in the bottom half of the inning with two flyouts and a groundout.
Miller managed Nebraska’s first hit of the game with a double down the left field line, but the Huskers couldn’t drive him in. PSU’s first two batters reached and advanced to second and third with a sacrifice bunt. Burkamper forced a popout and strikeout to get out of the inning.
Nebraska took the lead when Jake Schleppenbach’s single brought in Luis Alvarado, who produced a leadoff double and advanced to third on a flyout. Mojo Hagge singled to advanced Schleppenbach to third. Both runners were stranded after a strikeout and flyout. Penn State had a single in the bottom of the fifth, but a fielder’s choice out and double play ended the Nittany Lions’ threat to score.
Miller singled in the top of the sixth, but a double play ended the Huskers’ chance to score. Penn State’s leadoff hitter singled, but McSteen entered and forced two flyouts and a strikeout to end the inning.
Alvarado drew a leadoff walk and stole second to start NU’s top of the seventh. Schleppenbach ripped an RBI single through the right side that scored Alvarado. Schleppenbach advanced to third on a failed pickoff attempt by the Nittany Lion pitcher. A lineout and flyout ended NU’s chance to build on a 2-0 lead. Penn State went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the seventh.
Altavilla got a leadoff hit in the eighth, but Scott Schreiber grounded into a double play and Miller flew out to end the inning. Penn State’s leadoff hitter scored after singling to left field and being advanced on a single and fielder’s choice. Alvarado came in to pitch and got NU out of the inning with a strikeout.
Alvarado homered to right center in the top of the ninth to increase Nebraska’s lead to 3-1. Penn State threatened to score in the bottom of the ninth, but NU left two Nittany Lions on-base after a flyout to left field ended the game.
The series finale of the three-game set is scheduled for Saturday, starting at 10 a.m. (CT).