Minneapolis, Minn. – The Nebraska baseball team (6-4, 0-0 Big Ten) ended its trip to the Metrodome on Sunday afternoon with a 10-3 win over the Minnesota Golden Gophers at the Dairy Queen Classic. The Huskers went 2-1 on the weekend, as they took Saturday’s game against New Mexico in dramatic fashion with four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, capped with a two-run walk-off homerun by Rich Sanguinetti. Three Huskers earned all-tournament honors, including Richard Stock at first base, Austin Darby in the outfield and Michael Pritchard at designated hitter.
Pritchard also earned the tournament’s Silver Stick Award as the weekend’s most valuable hitter. The sophomore was 5-for-8 on the weekend with one double, three RBI’s and four runs scored. On Sunday allow, Pritchard was 3-for-4 with a career-high three RBI’s and three runs scored. Stock and Blake Headley also had multiple hits on the afternoon with two each and each drove in a run.
NU starter Tom Lemke gave the Huskers five solid innings and earned his first win of 2012 in his second start of the season. The 6-8 righty gave up one run on four hits and struck out two. The NU bullpen then took over and gave up two runs on three hits over the final four innings of the game.
After scoring a combined seven runs through the first two games of the Dairy Queen Classic, the Husker offense exploded for seven runs in the first four frames against the Gophers, including three runs in the top of the second inning.
NU jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, as Stock continued to swing a hot stick with a two-out RBI double that drove in Pritchard, who led off the game with a single. It was Stock’s sixth double in the last seven games and his third double of the weekend.
The first three Husker hitters came around to score in the top of the second off four hits, including a pair of doubles from Kale Kiser and Pritchard. Cory Burleson led off the inning with a walk and scored following a single from Headley and a double from Kiser. Pritchard notched his second hit in two innings to drive in Headley and Kiser, putting the Huskers up 4-0.
Stock scored the Huskers’ fifth run of the game in the top third after reaching on a one-out single. Chad Christensen followed Stock with a bunt single, but was cleared off the base paths on a fielder’s choice by Burleson. Headley came through with his second single of the game to drive in Stock with two outs.
The runs kept coming in the fourth following back-to-back hits to start the inning. Pat Kelly led off with a double into the right-field corner and scored on a single by Pritchard, as it was the lefty’s third hit in the first four innings of the game. Pritchard came around to score his second run of the game following a wild pitch, a sacrifice bunt by Sanguinetti and a passed ball.
Down 7-0 going into the bottom of the fifth, the Gophers started to chip away at the Husker lead with one run each in the fifth, sixth and seventh, including a leadoff home run by Michael Handel to start the seventh inning. Minnesota would get no closer though, as Brandon Pierce pitched a perfect eight inning and Travis Huber threw a shutout in the ninth.
After being held scoreless for four straight innings, the Huskers added three more runs in the top of the ninth to put the game away for good. Kiser led off with a walk and scored on a bunt single by Bryan Peters, that also included a throwing error by the Gophers that moved Peters to third. Pritchard and Sanguinetti walked to load the bases for Darby, who came through with a two-RBI single to push the Husker lead to 10-3.
After playing their first 10 games of the season away from the Lincoln, the Huskers will hold their home opener on Tuesday afternoon against the Kansas State Wildcats at 2:05 p.m. The game with the Wildcats is the first of 17 straight home games at Hawks Field, as Nebraska will also play UNK, California, South Dakota State, Louisiana Tech, Northern Colorado and Illinois. Nebraska’s Big Ten opening series against the Fighting Illini starts on Friday, March 23, at 6:35 p.m.