Michigan State rallies to hand Nebraska its third straight Big Ten series loss

EAST LANSING, Mich. — The weather isn’t the only thing that’s cold to open Big Ten play.

The Huskers are still looking for their first series win in the conference after Michigan State, which entered the weekend 242nd in RPI out of 297 teams, scored three runs in its final two at-bats to rally for a 5-3 victory Sunday.

Tied 3-3, the game turned in the eighth inning. After Nebraska couldn’t take advantage of Mojo Hagge’s leadoff double — striking out with the bases loaded to end the threat — the Spartans had two hits and scored twice on wild pitches in the bottom half to go ahead for good.

Riley McCauley worked around a walk and a pair of two-out singles in the ninth to close out the win for Michigan State (9-19, 3-5). The Huskers (14-16, 2-6), who have lost their first three Big Ten series after dropping one in league play a year ago, left the bases loaded again in the final inning.

Michigan State entered the two-game set 288th in the Division I in runs per game (at 3.5) but NU had trouble getting outs. A day after allowing 15 hits while committing five errors in a 17-5 loss, NU allowed 11 hits with two errors — one of which led to the Spartans’ first run — and five wild pitches.

Nebraska starter Matt Waldron went four innings, allowing two runs — one earned — on six hits and a walk with two strikeouts. The junior from Omaha Westside left with a 3-2 lead but the Spartans tied it against the bullpen in the seventh inning.

Senior Scott Schreiber, who extended his hitting streak to nine games, continued to set the pace for the Husker offense. The first baseman hit an RBI double in the first inning to score Hagge. He later scored on a sacrifice fly to give Nebraska a 2-0 lead.

The Spartans scored in the bottom of the first and second to tie it, but NU regained the lead in the third inning on Schreiber’s 11th homer of the season. It was the first baseman’s fifth consecutive game with a homer and 37th of his career, putting him seventh on the school’s all-time list.

After going 3 for 3 with two runs and an RBI Sunday, Schreiber is 23 for 37 with 13 runs, 11 RBIs and seven homers in the past nine games.