Swanson's double in 9th lifts Nebraska over Penn State 2-1 for Big Ten title, spot in regional

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska's Gabe Swanson drove in pinch-runner Cayden Brumbaugh with a two-out double in the top of the ninth inning and Big Ten pitcher of the year Brett Sears retired the heart of the Penn State order to seal a 2-1 victory on Sunday, earning the Cornhuskers the conference tournament title and a berth in the regionals.

Second-seeded Nebraska (39-20), which joined the Big Ten in 2011, also won the tournament in 2017 and 2021. The Cornhuskers have never won the College World Series, previously appearing in 2001, 2002 and 2005.

Penn State (29-24), which joined the conference in 1993, has made five CWS appearances but none since 1973. The Nittany Lions were the runners-up in 1957.

Nebraska got absolutely nothing going against Penn State starter Travis Luensmann, who struck out five his first time through the order and allowed just three singles before Josh Caron led off the seventh with a home run to tie the game at 1-1. It was Caron's record sixth career homer in the event.

Luensmann was done after seven innings and 82 pitches after throwing 91 in an 8-4 victory over top-seeded Illinois on Wednesday. He finished with six strikeouts and did not issue a walk.

Jaden Henline replaced Luensmann and retired five straight batters until a two-out single by Ben Columbus. Brumbaugh pinch ran and stole second base. The Nittany Lions challenged the call at second and lost and Swanson followed with a double to left-center field on a full count to give the Cornhuskers the lead. Adam Cecere made a leaping catch in right to rob Dylan Carey of a home run to end the inning.

Cecere, batting third with 49 career home runs, led off the bottom of the ninth against Big Ten pitcher of the year Brett Sears and popped out. Sears struck out Norris and Molinaro flied out to left, earning Sears his first save.

Brockett (3-2) pitched the first eight innings, allowing four hits and a walk while striking out five.

Penn State scored its only run in the bottom of the first. Joe Jaconski led off with a walk and Grant Norris and Bryce Molinaro followed with back-to-back two-out singles to load the bases. Jaconski scored when Brockett misfired on a pickoff attempt at second base.

Nebraska ran the table after losing 15-2 in seven innings to Ohio State in the opener on Tuesday.


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