Huskers bounce back to beat Purdue in Big Ten Tournament

Huskers bounce back to beat Purdue in Big Ten Tournament
Courtesy/NU Media Relations
May 22nd, 2024 |

Brett Sears and Drew Christo combined to toss a two-hitter, as the duo retired 19 of the last 20 Boilermakers in Nebraska’s 6-2 win over Purdue on Wednesday night at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha.

Nebraska (35-20) scored six runs on 12 hits and an error, while Purdue (33-24) totaled two runs on two hits to end the Boilermakers’ season on a seven-game losing skid.

Case Sanderson had a 3-for-5 night with a double and an RBI. Gabe Swansen was 2-for-4 with a double, home run and two runs scored. Josh Caron had a two-hit night with a solo homer, while Dylan Carey turned in a pair of hits, including a double. Ben Columbus, Cole Evans and Joshua Overbeek recorded one hit apiece.

Brett Sears became the first NU pitcher since at least 1999 to post a 9-0 record on the mound after dealing his 12th quality start of the season. The senior held Purdue to just two hits and allowed two runs, one earned, while striking out nine Boilermakers. With the nine punchouts, Sears climbed to 10th in program history with 96 strikeouts on the season.

Drew Christo collected his first save of the season after working three hitless innings. The junior faced on batter over the three-inning minimum and recorded four strikeouts.

A two-out solo homer in the bottom of the first broke the scoreless tie to give the Boilermakers a 1-0 lead through the opening frame.

Swansen’s 12-pitch plate appearance to being the second inning ignited a four-run rally from the Huskers to give Nebraska a three-run advantage. The junior led off the inning with a full-count walk after fouling off six consecutive pitches with a 3-2 count. A single from Carey had runners on first and second, while Evans laced the first pitch for an RBI double to left, scoring Swansen.

An RBI fielder’s choice to shortstop by Silva brought home Carey to give the Huskers a one-run lead. Overbeek kept it rolling for the NU offense, lining a first-pitch RBI double to center, plating Silva all the way from first base. Overbeek moved to third on a groundout, before Sanderson ripped a 2-1 pitch back up the middle for an RBI single to make it a 4-1 game.

Purdue got one of the three runs back in the bottom of the second with an RBI groundout after an NU fielding error extended the inning to bring the Boilermakers within 4-2 after two innings.

Swansen smashed a solo homer into the left-field bleachers to open the third inning, while Sears hung his first scoreless frame in the bottom half to maintain the three-run lead for the Big Red.

Sears retired the Boilermakers in order in the next three innings to preserve his 12th quality start of the season, becoming the fourth NU pitcher to since 2000 to record 12-or-more quality starts in a season.

Christo replaced Sears on the mound following the seventh-inning stretch and picked up right where the Huskers’ ace left off, sitting down Purdue in order with a pair of strikeouts.

Caron drilled a leadoff homer to start the ninth inning and stretch the lead to 6-2, snapping a string of five consecutive scoreless innings between the two teams. The junior sent an 0-1 pitch into the bleachers in left field for his team-leading 12th home run of the season.

Christo plunked the first batter in the bottom of the ninth, before a flyout and back-to-back strikeouts ended the bottom of the ninth and clinched Nebraska’s 6-2 win on Wednesday night.

Nebraska advances to play Ohio State on Friday at 2 p.m. at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha.


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