LINCOLN — Reggie Meyer handcuffed Nebraska hitters for eight innings and Minnesota took advantage of a wobbly start by Luis Alvarado to prevail 5-1 in the Big Ten opener for both baseball teams Friday night.
No. 9 hitter Alex Boxwell drove in four runs on a pair of singles for the Gophers, who put runners on in seven innings and drew seven walks — six off Alvarado — on a blustery evening at Haymarket Park. The Huskers (12-10, 0-1) dropped their seven straight series opener.
The three-game set between the last two Big Ten regular-season champions continues Saturday at 2:05 p.m.
Alvarado lasted five-plus innings and 105 pitches, skirting a bases-loaded jam without damage in the fifth after limiting UM to two runs in the second when it loaded the bases with no outs. But he walked a pair to lead off the sixth, and both came home when Boxwell dunked a hit into right-center field later in the frame off reliever Mike Waldron to go up 4-1.
Waldron, who gave up five runs in 1⅓ innings in a Tuesday start at Oral Roberts, allowed one run (on a Cole McDevitt sacrifice fly) and four hits in four relief frames to close the game.
Meyer, a redshirt junior who mostly came out of the bullpen last season, never threw more than 17 pitches in a frame and stymied the Huskers at every turn. He scattered eight hits and struck out five on 108 pitches, giving NU just five chances with runners in scoring position (it converted one). The Huskers’ best scoring chance came with runners at the corners and two outs in the sixth before the potential tying run, Luke Roskam, ground out to first base.
Jackson Rose — a senior and Omaha Westside grad — hurled a scoreless ninth to end the game for Minnesota (15-8, 1-0).
NU managed its lone run in the second when Scott Schreiber led off with a double — just the team’s fourth extra-base hit in the past five games — and Luke Roskam followed later with an RBI single.