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May 12, 2013
Bummer handcuffs Minnesota, wins 8-0
Nebraska vs. Minnesota game 3 box score
Minnesota may still have one of the best starting rotations in the conference, if not the country. But for one weekend at least, they didn't even have the best staff in the series.
After Sunday's 8-0 win in Minneapolis, that title goes to Nebraska. Christian DeLeon was masterful in a 6-0 win over the Golden Gophers Friday, but sophomore Aaron Bummer was even better on Sunday. He pitched seven shutout innings and allowed just three hits, none of which came after the third inning, to give Nebraska the series win and improve the Huskers to 14-7 in conference play.
It was the first time since 2005 that Nebraska recorded a pair of shutouts in a league series.
"Win or lose, we have to take care of our business in all facets of the game," Darin Erstad said on his postgame radio appearance. "It just seemed like there's one thing that's always missing, but today we did a good job of keeping it together. I thought our at-bats were way better. We really controlled the zone well and didn't chase bad pitches. And of course, Aaron on the mound did a fantastic job. That was pretty special what he did today."
Though the offense was spectacular, this game belonged to Bummer. The lefty, who walked five batters in just four innings in his last start, didn't issue a free pass until the sixth inning and retired ten UM batters in a row at one point. After allowing a single in each of the first three innings, the Gophers wouldn't record another base knock against him.
"He was just throwing strikes," Erstad said. "He has so much movement on his pitches, all he needs to do is throw it down the middle and let it work. Boy, was it ever working today. You saw him get in a rhythm in the middle of the game today and boy was it fun to watch."
The NU bats also did a great job backing Bummer up. Neither team scored until Kash Kalkowski led off the fourth with a home run, but the bomb seemed to get NU's offense into gear. The Huskers scored twice in the sixth on a Tanner Lubach ground out and a double by Wes Edrington, then tacked on four more runs in the seventh.
With the rout on, Ryan Hander and Jeff Chesnut cruised through the final two innings without much trouble.
The win pulled NU into a three-way tie with Ohio State and Minnesota at second in the Big Ten, though the Buckeyes hold the tie breaker over the Huskers and Nebraska obviously has the same advantage over the Gophers. With one midweek game left (Tuesday at Creighton) before a critical weekend series against Michigan, Erstad knows this was a critical series win for the Huskers.
"I tried to downplay this one with our guys as much as I could and focus on 'How do we take care of our own business" and "Win and lose on your terms,'" Erstad said. "Our guys did a very nice job of that. We're going to be in the same boat Tuesday and coming into Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We just have to play good baseball regardless of the circumstances and that's something we still are trying to find on a consistent basis."
***Kash Kalkowski: The senior tied a season and career high with four hits on the day, including his second home run of the season. He knocked in a pair of runs and scored three times.
"When Kash really locks it in and swings at strikes, it's pretty special," Erstad said. "He covered a fastball and hit it way out of the stadium. He has it in him. It's just a matter of him being consistent with it."
***Tanner Lubach: The catcher really seems to be getting comfortable at the plate lately. Lubach had another strong game Sunday, finishing with three hits, including a two-RBI triple. He also walked once and drove in three.
***Wes Edrington: It's been a quiet year for Edrington at the plate, but not Sunday. One of Edrington's two hits was a double, his third of the year, and finished with a pair of RBIs.
Around the horn
***Ty Kildow was a surprise starter over Rich Sanguinetti. Sanguinetti had started all but one game this season while Kildow had started just three games, the last of which came on March 6 against Northern Colorado. Sanguinetti replaced Kildow in center field in the sixth inning.
***Nebraska has now hit into 35 double plays this year (the Huskers have turned 25 twin killings themselves).
***Kalkowski's home run gave NU more than one home run in a series for the first time this season (Josh Scheffert homered in the series opener Friday).