Mojo's moment leads Nebraska to 8-6 win
The forgotten freshman Mojo Hagge had only one hit in this weekend's Iowa series, yet it was his two-out two-RBI triple that propelled Nebraska (21-13-1) to an 8-6 victory over Iowa (22-12) on Sunday.
Hagge was 5-for-45 (.111) at the plate since Big Ten season started back on March 31st. He came up with the biggest hit of his career so far when he hit a two-run triple deep down the right field line to bring in sophomore catcher Jesse Wilkening and junior infielder Brison Cronenbold.
“I’m not surprised one bit that he did that,” head coach Darin Erstad said. “Times watching him in high school, times here, he just seems to put himself in the middle of the action.”
Erstad moved Hagge from the leadoff spot to the nine-spot today for the first time this season.
“It doesn’t really matter to me,” Hagge said. “I just want to get in there and get at bats and do what is best for the team.
"If Coach Erstad saw me in the nine-spot today, then that’s what I needed to be.”
Pitching wasn’t particular sharp for either team, but junior pitcher Jake Meyers did what he had to do to put the Huskers in a position to win. Meyers finished with three strikeouts, allowed six hits and gave up three runs. The junior's ERA is now up to 2.54 on the season and he was not credited with the win. NU is now 6-0-1 on the season when playing on Sundays.
“He gives us a chance to win every time he takes the mound,” Erstad said. “He was really up in the zone and it’s a common theme. If you do that against good hitters you’re going to get hurt.”
Nebraska jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead after the first inning thanks to a Scott Schreiber single that brought in Meyers and sophomore Angelo Altavilla. The Huskers kept Iowa out of the scoring column until the fifth inning when Hawkeye DH Austin Guzzo singled down the right field line to bring in catcher Tyler Cropley.
Iowa would go on to score in four consecutive innings and led 6-5 going into the bottom of the eighth. Cronenbold and Wilkening recorded back-to-back singles to get on base and that’s when Hagge hit the bases-clearing triple to give NU an 8-6 advantage.
“We always stay positive,” outfielder/closer Luis Alvarado said. “We always fight until the end and that mood never changes. We keep fighting hard until the last out. That helped us.”
Alvarado came in to pitch in the ninth, struck out one and only allowed one hit as he earned his sixth save of the season.
Nebraska returns to action on Tuesday at 6:30 pm when they take on Creighton (14-16) at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha. The Jays have started out Big East Conference play 5-1 after a rough stretch in the non-conference.
“We had a pretty good game against them,” Alvarado said. “But that’s in the past now, so we need to go play hard like we do."