BC-BBC--Big Ten Championship
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Griffan Smith and Andrew Magno combined to hold down Nebraska’s offense, and Ohio State mustered just enough of its own to beat the Cornhuskers 3-1 in the Big Ten Tournament championship game Sunday.
The seventh-seeded Buckeyes (35-25), who had to scramble to make the eight-team tournament field after sitting three games under .500 in conference play May 5, claimed the Big Ten’s automatic NCAA Tournament bid with their 11th win in 13 games.
They did it by winning in front of the overwhelmingly pro-Huskers crowd of 17,503 at TD Ameritrade Park, about 50 miles from Nebraska’s Lincoln campus.
The Buckeyes beat Minnesota 8-6 in a semifinal postponed until Sunday morning because of the Big Ten rule that doesn’t allow a game to start after 11 p.m. They played the title game after a one-hour, 13-minute break. Nebraska (31-22) had advanced by beating Michigan on Saturday night.
Two crucial video reviews swung the championship game.
The first was in the fourth inning, when Brent Todys came home on a sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead. Nebraska right fielder Aaron Palensky made a perfect throw to the plate, and Todys was initially called out as catcher Luke Roskam made a sweeping tag. Ohio State requested a review, and the call was overturned when video showed Roskam’s glove missed Todys’ chest just before Todys’ hand touched the plate.
In the seventh, with runners on second and third and the Buckeyes ahead 2-1, Ohio State third baseman Nick Erwin picked up Palensky’s chopper and made the throw to first in time for the third out and deny Nebraska the tying run. Nebraska asked for a review, and the call was upheld.
Smith made his second start of the tournament on two days’ rest. He threw 110 pitches over seven innings in a 3-2 win over Maryland on Thursday and 89 more in 5 2/3 innings.
Nebraska had scored 8, 11, 8 and 7 runs in its first four tournament games but was shut out on two hits through five innings. The Huskers broke through for a run in the sixth on an error and three walks.
Smith (7-4) and Magno limited the Huskers to four singles but walked six. Magno, who recorded his fourth save of the tournament and 14th of the season, struck out the side in the ninth.
Nebraska starter Matt Waldron (6-4) gave up one run in three innings. Freshman Shay Schanaman, pitching for the first time in the tournament, allowed two hits and one run in a career-long four innings.
Ohio State won the tournament without ace Garrett Burhenn, who was hit in the head by a ball on May 16 against Purdue and didn’t clear the concussion protocol.
The Big Ten could have as many as five teams in the NCAA Tournament, with Nebraska, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan in line for at-large bids.