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Swansen Sends Huskers to Semifinals

Gabe Swansen drove in a career-high six runs with four hits, including a three-run home run, in Nebraska’s 12-5 win over Ohio State on Friday afternoon at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha.

Nebraska (36-20) scored 12 runs on 13 hits and an error, while Ohio State (29-26) totaled five runs on seven hits with an error. 

Swansen led the Huskers at the plate going 4-for-5 with a pair of extra-base hits and six RBI. Ben Columbus reached in four of his five plate appearances, drawing three walks, and Rhett Stokes tallied his eighth three-hit effort with an RBI.

Josh Caron finished 2-for-5 with a double and three RBI while Garrett Anglim added a pinch-hit RBI single in the eighth inning. Dylan Carey and Riley Silva each recorded knocks and scored a run.

Mason McConnaughey improved to 8-3 with six strong innings, allowing three runs, two earned, on five hits to notch his fourth quality start this season. The right-hander punched out a career-high 11 batters while issuing a trio of walks on 101 pitches.

Jalen Worthley allowed a pair of earned runs across 2.1 innings of work with three strikeouts before Rans Sanders recorded the final two outs to secure the Husker victory. 

The Huskers manufactured a pair of baserunners in the opening frame after Sanderson was plunked and Columbus’ two-out walk. Swansen then belted a 369-foot home run into the right-field bullpen to put NU ahead 3-0 and give the junior long balls in consecutive games.

McConnaughey posted another zero in the top of the second inning and retired six of the first seven batters he faced. Carey began the bottom half with a double, his 17th of the season, and was moved to third base after Silva’s sacrifice bunt back to the pitcher.

Stokes slapped a 108-mph line drive up the middle to drive in Carey and extend the Nebraska lead to 4-0 in the second inning. 

Ohio State got on the board in the third inning after a leadoff single from Ryan Miller and a wild pitch put a Buckeye in scoring position. Trey Lipsey’s single to right-center field plated Miller and trimmed the Husker lead to three.

Nebraska immediately answered as Columbus drew his second walk of the day and Swansen hammered his fifth extra-base hit of the tournament into right field to push the Husker advantage to 5-1 in the third.

The Buckeyes scratched across runs off McConnaughey in the fourth and fifth innings to make it 5-3, but Columbus responded with a 400-foot long ball into the right-field bleachers to once again stretch the lead to three.

After retiring the first two batters of the sixth inning, a single to third base brought the tying run to the plate. However, on his 101st pitch of the afternoon, McConaughey recorded his career-high 11th punchout to give the right-hander his fourth quality start of the season and end the Buckeye rally. 

The Huskers tacked on a trio of runs across in the seventh inning, with Stokes beginning the frame with a double and moving to third on a failed pickoff attempt. Overbeek was then walked on four pitches followed by Caron's RBI double over the left fielder's head to make it 7-3.

Swansen continued his big offensive day with a two-run single through the left side to bring home Overbeek and Caron and build the lead to six runs.

 Nebraska had its lead grow to nine after scoring three runs on five hits in the bottom of the eighth. Singles from Stokes and Silva, followed by a walk to Overbeek loaded the bases for the NU offense with one out. Anglim lined a 2-2 pitch through the left side for an RBI single, before Caron laced a two-RBI single to center to grow the Big Red’s lead to 12-3.

The Buckeyes plated two runs after loading the bases in the top of the ninth to cut a nine-run deficit into a 12-5 win for the Huskers on Friday afternoon.

Nebraska advances to take on third-seeded Indiana on Saturday, May 25 at 9 a.m. at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha.