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Husker Baseball rallies to edge Nittany Lions in series opener

Husker Baseball rallies to edge Nittany Lions in series opener
Courtesy/NU Media Relations

University Park, Pa. – Trailing 2-0 after five innings, Nebraska (18-10, 8-2 Big Ten) scored three runs in the sixth en route to a 3-2 win over Penn State at Medlar Field on Friday afternoon.

Senior right-handed pitcher Matt Waldron, making his sixth start of the season, threw 7.0 innings and allowed two runs, while recording two strikeouts. Waldron, who has gone 7.0 or more innings in each of his last five starts, improves to 5-0 this season. It marks Waldron’s 20th career victory, which puts him in a tie for 10th on Nebraska’s career wins list with Zach Kroenke and Jim Sandstedt. Waldron has 210 career strikeouts, the eighth-most in program history.

Robbie Palkert came on for 1.0 inning of scoreless relief before freshman Colby Gomes earned his team-high fifth save of the season by pitching a scoreless ninth inning.

In the opening frame, Nebraska left two runners on base in a scoreless inning. Spencer Schwellenbach drew a leadoff walk before Gunner Hellstrom managed a one-out single, but a pop-out and strikeout ended the frame for the Big Red. Penn State plated two runs on four hits in the bottom of the first to take the early 2-0 lead.

The Huskers went down in order in the top of the second with one groundout and two flyouts. One Nittany Lion reached on an error in the bottom of the second, but he was left on base as the score remained 2-0.

Schwellenbach and Aaron Palensky each drew one-out walks in the third, but a pair of groundouts left them stranded at second and third without scoring. The Nittany Lions went down in order in the bottom of the third with two flyouts and a strikeout.

NU went down 1-2-3 in the top of the fourth with two strikeouts and a flyout. PSU also went down in order in the bottom of the fourth.

Jaxon Hallmark and Schwellenbach each walked in the fifth, but NU couldn’t manufacture any runs as the score stayed at 2-0. Penn State managed one hit in the bottom of the fifth, but failed to extend its lead.

In the top of the sixth, Keegan Watson smacked a two-run home run, his third of the season, after Joe Acker drew a leadoff walk. Pinch hitter Mojo Hagge singled before advancing to third on Angelo Altavilla’s single. Hagge scored when Gomes reached on a fielder’s choice to give NU a 3-2 lead. Penn State managed a leadoff single in the sixth, but left the runner stranded.

Both teams went down in order in the seventh inning.

NU’s three hitters sat down in the top of the eighth with a strikeout, groundout and flyout. PSU’s leadoff batter singled, but a fielder’s choice and double play ended a scoreless frame as the score remained 3-2.

In the ninth, NU went down in order with two strikeouts before Gomes recorded two strikeouts and a groundout to preserve the victory for the Big Red.

The Huskers and Nittany Lions will play a doubleheader on Saturday, starting at 2 p.m. CT (3 p.m. ET).

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