The Huskers' weekend series at Ohio State couldn't have started any worse when the Buckeyes scored seven runs in the first inning Friday night, eventually losing 10-2.
But Nebraska turned its luck around Sunday. After inclement weather postponed Saturday's game, the Huskers and Buckeyes squared off twice. The Huskers took game one 5-4 on third baseman Josh Scheffert's eighth inning home run and didn't leave any didn't leave any doubt in the second game, scoring a combined 12 times in the fourth and fifth innings to win going away 17-9.
The two wins gave Nebraska its first conference road series victory since 2008. The series win also completely halted the momentum of the Buckeyes, who had won seven straight and were tied with Nebraska at second place in the Big Ten standings when the series began.
"To do it on the road here where you have to play a doubleheader to do it against a team that's won ten in a row or something like that, that's not an easy task," coach Darin Erstad said on his postgame radio show. "We've responded well to adversity. I tip my hat to our guys. They just kept fighting all day long. They could've come out flat but they didn't."
Senior Kale Kiser gave the Huskers their first lead of the weekend with a two-run home run in the second inning of game one, but Ohio State immediately bounced back with three runs in the bottom of the inning.
Starter Brandon Pierce struggled with his command and gave up another run in the third. Kash Kalkowski helped him out by pounding a two-run home run in the fifth inning to tie the game.
Pierce settled down but got himself into trouble with back-to-back two-out singles. Dylan Vogt came in and bailed him out by getting the out and pitching two more scoreless innings. Scheffert, the first hitter in the eighth, blasted a pitch over the left-field wall to snatch the lead back.
Closer Travis Huber allowed a leadoff single to start the bottom of the ninth, but didn't allow him to score.
The Huskers left no doubt about the game's outcome in the rubber match. They trailed 2-1 going into the fourth, but sent nine hitters to the plate in the fourth without recording an out. NU scored seven in that frame and another five in the fifth.
Scheffert, already a likely candidate to take home player of the week honors, crushed a three-run homer to increase the Huskers' lead to 17-4 in the ninth. Scheffert hit three home runs and had 10 RBIs on the weekend.
"He's keeping his emotions in check," Erstad said. "He's not panicking when he blown up on a fastball inside or hit the next pitch after he swings at a slider in the dirt. He's getting his pitch, he's being patient and he's doing something with it. He's under control and he's confident up there."
Luke Bublitz struggled in the bottom of the ninth, giving up five runs to provide the final margin.
The Huskers don't have a midweek game this week. Their next matchup will be a series with conference leader Purdue next weekend.
Around the horn
***Michael Pritchard has at least one hit in 30 of the 34 games he's played in this year. He has a hit in every Big Ten game this season and is currently riding a 15-game hitting streak.
***Kiser has now been hit by a pitch 13 times this season after getting plunked in both games. That's almost double the total of Bryan Peters, who is second on the team with seven free passes this year. 8 hit by pitches
***Scheffert passed Chad Christensen for the team lead in home runs by hitting one in each game this weekend. Christensen hasn't hit a four-bagger since March 17 against Louisiana Tech.
***Richard Stock hit two doubles on the day to increase his team-leading season total to 12.