WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Nebraska overwhelmed Purdue’s bullpen once again, cruising to a convincing 12-2 victory Sunday to complete a conference series sweep.
The Huskers, winners of five straight, outscored the Boilermakers 32-8 on the weekend, doing most of their damage once the starting pitchers left the game.
Nebraska (19-19, 11-4 Big Ten) scored nine times in the final four innings Sunday, turning a 3-2 edge into a blowout. Purdue’s bullpen had a 16.87 ERA during the three games against the NU lineup, giving up 23 hits in 1023 innings of work. The Boilermakers (11-25, 4-11) also had 10 errors in three games, including four Sunday.
“We took advantage of their mistakes,” NU coach Darin Erstad said on the Husker Sports Network. “(It was) just a good all-around weekend.”
It was NU’s first road sweep in a three-game conference series since 2008.
The win moves Nebraska’s overall record to .500 for the first time this season. The Huskers started the year 0-7.
They now trail first-place Minnesota (23-13, 7-2) by just a few percentage points in the Big Ten standings. The Gophers’ three-game series against Michigan State was canceled because of poor weather.
This five-game winning streak for NU is the longest of its season.
“We talk about creating our own atmosphere in a different set of circumstances,” Erstad said. “(We wanted) to come out here and finish business.”
The Huskers did let Purdue hang around for five innings Sunday, though.
Run-scoring singles by sophomores Blake Headley and Pat Kelly put Nebraska up 2-0 in the second inning. The Huskers went up 3-0 when senior Josh Scheffert drove in a run one inning later.
Josh Estill then hit a two-run single with one out in the fourth off NU sophomore starter Kyle Kubat to cut the deficit to 3-2. But Kubat retired the next two batters to end the threat.
Kubat, in his second appearance this year, surrendered four hits over five innings of work.
Three Nebraska relievers combined to allow just one hit in the final four innings. NU’s bullpen gave up one earned run and three hits over 10 innings during the weekend series.
Kelly had a team-high four hits Sunday. Sophomore Michael Pritchard extended his hitting streak to 19 games.
Nebraska will next play Kansas State at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday in Lincoln. The Wildcats won the first two games against the Huskers this season.