LINCOLN — Work hard and believe. The motto might as well have been inscribed on the sleeves of Nebraska’s entire roster Saturday.
It was on the mind of Luke Roskam, who continued to emerge from a lengthy slump with a 3-for-5 day. Same for Ty Roseberry, who cranked his first homer as a Husker 10 months after learning his previous program at UNK would be eliminated.
The afternoon played out similarly for Nebraska at large. The Huskers trailed in the middle innings but capitalized on an avalanche of Purdue mistakes en route to a series-clinching 13-4 victory in front of a season- high 5,897 at Haymarket Park.
“It’s just one of those weird college baseball games,” coach Darin Erstad said. “You try and make less mistakes than they do.”
Just about every rally the Huskers mounted came with a Boilermaker miscue attached. Meanwhile, NU (16-9, 6-2 Big Ten) pulled away despite committing three errors — breaking a three-game errorless streak — and one of lefty Nate Fisher’s least effective starts of the spring.
Freshman Cam Chick continued his torrid pace, homering for a second straight day with a three-run shot to right. Roskam (three RBIs) and Angelo Altavilla (3 for 4) also sparked the offense against starter Andrew Bohm, who allowed eight earned runs in four innings.
A seven-run fifth broke open a 3-3 game and was ignited when Purdue (10-19, 4-3) booted a sure double-play grounder. With the bases loaded, Roskam guided a two-run single to right and a third run came in on an error at home plate. Chick followed soon after with his blast and Aaron Palensky tacked on an RBI single.
Chick, a third baseman, is 15 for 45 (.333) with 11 runs and nine RBIs in 11 games since filling in full time for injured shortstop Spencer Schwellenbach (sprained ankle).
Roskam sat out Friday’s win but is 7 for 14 after enduring a 2-for-29 skid.
“Just as long as I work hard, I know it’s going to come back around, and it finally is,” the junior catcher said. “I sit next to a pitcher every inning. Seeing the load come off them and the stress go away and knowing that we’re going to produce, it’s really fun to see everyone just swing it well.”
Fisher fought a blister on a pitching finger and lasted three innings and 53 pitches, allowing three runs — one earned. Mike Waldron (2 1⁄3 innings, one run) and Robbie Palkert (3 2⁄3 scoreless) completed the victory as Nebraska flexed its bullpen muscles for the first time in Big Ten play.
Roskam put NU ahead in the opening inning with a run-scoring dunker. But Purdue took its first lead of the series in the third with a two-run Skyler Hunter triple and run-scoring error. The Huskers evened it with a two-run fourth on a Chick RBI double and a wild pitch.
Roseberry, a junior transfer who had appeared in two games previously, capped the day with a solo shot as a pinch hitter in the eighth. He’s 2 for 2 this spring.
The season hasn’t been magical, Roseberry said, considering he doesn’t travel and field time has been scarce. But he takes pride in staying prepared when his chances come.
“It can’t get much worse than not playing,” Roseberry, “so might as well go out and have fun.”
Nebraska improved to 7-0 at home this season and wraps up the series with Purdue at 12:05 p.m. Sunday.
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— Nebraska Huskers (@Huskers) April 6, 2019