Shelby Lum / Lantern Photographer
The Nebraska Cornhuskers swept the Ohio State baseball team in a doubleheader Sunday, ending OSU’s seven-game winning streak. The doubleheader was forced because of a rainout Saturday.
OSU (21-14, 6-6 Big Ten) lost 17-9 in the second game it played Sunday against Nebraska (25-13, 7-5 Big Ten) in a battle for second place in the Big Ten. OSU coach Greg Beals said he felt the Buckeyes beat themselves in the second game of the doubleheader.
“I wish we would’ve made them beat us,” Beals said after the second game. “If we’re going to lose, I want the other team to beat us. We didn’t play very good baseball and we helped them out a lot.”
Nebraska scored 17 runs on 16 hits, five of those runs unearned, and OSU walked five batters while four others were hit by pitches. OSU also committed four errors in the series-clinching win for Nebraska.
Sophomore John Kuchno was the starter for the Buckeyes and allowed eight runs on seven hits, though only three runs were earned. Kuchno walked one batter, struck out one and hit three Cornhusker batters. Kuchno lasted three and a third innings before Nebraska scored seven in the fourth inning and five in the fifth.
“If we pitch and play defense like we have been doing (in past games) then we’re tough,” Beals said. “We didn’t pitch and play defense for basically two innings. We tried to recover, but didn’t. But like I told the team, today is over.”
The first game of the doubleheader was a 5-4 Nebraska win which started at 11 a.m. because of a rainout from Saturday.
The Buckeyes and Cornhuskers played a back-and-forth game before a solo home run by Cornhusker junior third baseman Josh Scheffert gave Nebraska a 5-4 lead in the eighth inning. Nebraska held on to win by the same score. The game ended thirty minutes before the beginning of the second game of the doubleheader.
OSU’s lone win in the series came on Friday, when OSU beat Nebraska, 10-2.
Coming into the series, the Cornhuskers led the Big Ten in several offensive categories including runs, RBI, on-base percentage, doubles, home runs and slugging percentage. However, the Buckeyes led the way offensively Friday. In addition to the fireworks displayed after the game, the Buckeyes lit up the scoreboard with seven of their 10 runs in the first inning.
“I liked the quality of our at-bats,” Beals said after Friday’s win. “We seemed more offensive tonight than we had been. Yesterday we had a good practice day with the hitters. We were in the cages and brought two guys in at a time and spent four-and-a-half hours in there with guys.”
OSU junior catcher Greg Solomon led the offensive strike with a home run and a triple, driving in five runs for the Buckeyes.
In addition to the offense, sophomore transfer pitcher Jaron Long pitched a complete game allowing two runs on eight hits and no walks with five strikeouts. Long improved his record to 3-1 on the season with a 2.31 ERA.
“When you’re up seven or eight runs, it makes it so you can come right out since there’s no such thing as an eight-run home run,” Long said when asked if he changed his style pitching with a big lead. “It’s a nice honor (being the Friday night starter), but we have such a great pitching staff I can’t wait to see what we do the rest of this series.”
OSU’s next two games are at home against Xavier and Cincinnati to end a 10-game home stand. The Xavier game is Tuesday at 6:35 p.m. and the Cincinnati game is Wednesday at 7 p.m. After the games against the Cincinnati schools, the Buckeyes have a weekend series in Champaign, Ill. at Illinois.