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Nebraska sweeps Gophers in four-game series

Minnesota struggled on the mound over the weekend as it allowed 39 runs and led just two innings of the series.
Image by Audrey Rauth
Gopher batter Jack Wassel follows through his swing in U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday, March 7. The Gophers lost to Indiana, 8-1.

The Gophers’ baseball team continued its early-season struggles during its first weekend away from the U.S. Bank Stadium. In the previous three series, Minnesota accumulated a win in each but failed to pick up a win against Nebraska.

Ireland and Gophers drop series opener Friday

Starting pitcher Sam Ireland put the Gophers in a winning position through five innings by allowing just two runs. Ireland ran into some trouble in the sixth inning and was ultimately knocked out of the game. He was responsible for two more runs; in an inning, Nebraska put up three total.

The Gophers’ bats, however, weren’t coming alive as they went seven straight innings without plating a run. Nebraska starting pitcher Cade Povich sent down 10 Gophers via the strikeout on the way to a win.

Minnesota started to come alive late in the game, but the comeback effort fell short. After back-to-back pinch-hit singles, redshirt sophomore Zack Elliot drove in the lone run for the Gophers in the eighth. A 5-4-3 double play ended the inning and halted any further comeback.

Nebraska added one run in the bottom of the eighth to win comfortably, 6-1.

Cornhuskers make comeback in first of double header Saturday

After falling behind in the first inning of Saturday’s doubleheader, the Gophers put together three consecutive scoring innings to give themselves a three-run lead.

Senior Ronald Sweeny was at the center for the three-inning surge as he led off the fifth with a double and later scored to give Minnesota a one-run lead. In the sixth, with runners on first and second, Sweeny hit his second double of the game, scoring one and setting up runners on second and third.

Minnesota was able to grab one more run and took a 4-1 lead going into the bottom of the sixth of a seven-inning game. Nebraska answered right back with five runs in the sixth and quickly erased the lead Minnesota held.

Gophers’ starting pitcher Jack Liffrig tossed 5.2 innings while allowing just one run. He struck out three, gave up five hits and walked four.

Nebraska completed the comeback and took the second game of the series 6-4.

Nebraska picks up late surge and flies past Minnesota in the second game of doubleheader

After putting up a five spot in the first game of the doubleheader in a comeback win, Nebraska got right back to work in the first inning in the second. Gophers’ starting pitcher Patrick Fredrickson had an outing he would like to forget quickly. After allowing a grand slam in the first inning, Fredrickson’s day ended after surrendering eight runs on five hits and four walks in 2.1 innings.

The hot bats stayed around in the third inning, and Nebraska put eight more across the plate to jump out to a 12-0 lead. Minnesota was finally able to stop the bleeding as it got on the board fifth on a fielder’s choice from junior Andrew Wilhite.

An 11-run lead got too close for comfort for Nebraska, and the Cornhuskers answered right away with five runs in the bottom of the fifth to extend its lead to 17-1. Minnesota, again, had its bats heat up late in the game but was far from enough to comeback.

Sweeny continued his hot Saturday and hit a grand slam in the seventh to cut the lead to just 12.

That was all the Gophers could manage, and they dropped their second game Saturday 17-5.

Gophers drop series finale Sunday

The series’s final game wasn’t all that different for Minnesota, who saw an early deficit once again. Another late effort on offense came up short, and Minnesota left Nebraska winless, falling 10-2 Sunday.

The Cornhuskers didn’t waste any time to jump out in front and again plated a run in the opening inning. Nebraska wasn’t done there and put up a crooked number in the third to extend its lead to 5-0.

It wasn’t until the eighth inning and a 9-0 deficit that Minnesota could finally get on the board. Wilhite, who accounted for half the teams’ hits on the day, came through with bases loaded on a two-run single. That was it for the Gophers’ bats in the series.

Nebraska put one more across in the bottom of the eighth to extend its lead to 10-2, the game’s final score.

Minnesota dropped to 3-12 on the season after the sweep.

Next weekend

The Gophers will return home and host Michigan State for a three-game series starting April 2. Minnesota will play at Siebert Field for the first time since 2019.

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