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Nebraska's Big Ten tournament chances in peril after loss to Minnesota

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MINNEAPOLIS — Nebraska let a game get away in the late innings again, this time with a 3-1 loss to Minnesota on Sunday that puts the Huskers' Big Ten tournament chances in peril.

The last-place Gophers (14-31, 4-14 Big Ten) won the game despite going 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position and claimed their second series of the spring after Western Illinois six weeks ago. Noah Berghammer's solo home run — his first of the season — put Minnesota ahead for good in the seventh inning.

“There were a lot of competitive moments in that game where we weren’t on the right side of it,” coach Wil Bolt said during a postgame radio interview.

Nebraska (19-27, 7-11) struck out 10 times and mustered five hits. Its only run came in the fifth, when consecutive doubles by Core Jackson and Gabe Swansen ended a string of 10 straight Huskers retired by Minnesota starter Aidan Maldonado to tied the game 1-1.

The Gophers touched NU starter Jackson Brockett for one run when a double, groundout and Riley Swenson sacrifice fly gave them the lead in the fourth. They added insurance in the eight on a hit by pitch, single, sacrifice bunt and RBI groundout from Chase Stanke.

Brockett went 5 ⅓ innings, surrendering four hits and one walk while striking out seven. Dawson McCarville allowed the go-ahead homer in the seventh as Nebraska dropped its fifth Big Ten series in six tries.

The Huskers have six league games remaining — three at Illinois next weekend before a home series with Michigan State — as they seek to finish among the top eight to advance to the conference tourney in Omaha. That challenge grew more difficult after dropping a series they couldn’t let get away.

“The message is the same that it’s always been,” Bolt said. “It’s that you’ve got to show up every day and you’ve got to compete as hard as you can. We’re just going to continue to show up, work hard, play hard and compete hard. We gotta come out on the right side, obviously, in these last few games here if we want to extend our season.”

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