LINCOLN, Neb. – A pair of untimely mistakes in the fourth inning opened the door for a six-run rally, as Nebraska rode another extended frame to a third straight victory vs. Purdue baseball 9-5 Sunday.
The Huskers (17-9, 7-2 B1G) remained the only Big Ten team to be unbeaten (8-0) at home this season. They scored at least six runs in an inning in all three games of their series sweep.
With the Boilermakers (10-20, 4-4 B1G) leading 3-2 and the bases loaded in the fourth inning, shortstop Evan Albrecht threw wide of the second base bag after fielding a chopper in the hole on the left side. Going for a force out at third base may have proved to be the better option, especially with an out already on the board. Three runs scored on the play after the throw ended up along the fence down the right field line.
First baseman Owen Jansen was unable to catch a foul pop up later in the frame for what would have been the third out of the inning. Nebraska ended up scoring two additional runs.
Ryan Howe and Zac Fascia connected for solo home runs. Howe went deep to left field in the fourth inning to give Purdue its 3-2 lead, connecting for his first collegiate long ball. Fascia hit a towering blast to right field in the sixth inning for his second homer of the year.
The Boilermakers scored in five of the first six innings, but also stranded men at third base twice after having that runner 90 feet away with less than two outs.
Skyler Hunter opened the game with a triple for the third time this season, connecting for a three-bagger in the gap for the second game in a row. He's moved into eighth place in program history with nine career triples. The switch-hitter also extended his reached base safely streak in Big Ten play to 25 consecutive games. He's been on base in 11 consecutive games overall and he hit safely in every game of a weekend that featured at least three games for the 17th time in his career.
Bryce Bonner drove in a run in each of his first two at-bats, following Hunter's triple with an opposite-field double and delivering an RBI ground out in the third inning.
Albrecht had a good day at the plate, a two-hit showing that was highlighted by a leadoff double into the right field corner in the top of the third.
Ryan Beard, Trent Johnson, Matt Moore and Bo Hofstra teamed up to help the Boilermakers post five zero, their most of any game this weekend. But Purdue did not have a true 1-2-3 inning Sunday. Beard induced his team-leading eighth ground ball double play, with Howe turning a slow chopper to second base into a 4-6-3 twin killing in the third inning.
Cole McKenzie made an impressive throw from the right field line to third base to cut down a runner tagging up in the seventh inning.
Aaron Palensky and Alex Henwood homered for Nebraska. Palensky hit a two-run shot in the first inning after Beard issued a four-pitch walk to open the game. The right fielder finished the day with four hits and was just a triple shy of the cycle. Henwood also reached base safely four times in the nine hole.
The Boilermakers are back in action Wednesday for a 7 p.m. ET first pitch at Indiana. The non-conference game will be televised live by Fox Sports 1.
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