The Nebraska baseball team (24-17-1) sent four balls over the wall in a midweek matchup against North Dakota State (16-26) but fell 6-5. All five of the Huskers’ runs were scored on home runs, but three of those were solo homers.
This is the second straight Wednesday game that the Big Red have dropped.
It was another slow start that stunted the Huskers in this game. Kyle Perry was the starter on the mound for NU and the Bison jumped on him quickly. back-to-back base hits put two runners on and a home run in the next at-bat made it 3-0 NDSU. The Bison loaded the bases with no outs, and two sac fly balls scored two more runs and they led 5-0.
Perry managed to get out of the inning, but the damage had been done. With that, his day was done and Drew Christo stepped onto the mound to start the second inning. The sophomore pitched two innings and allowed just one hit that came around to score.
The offense came to life in the bottom half of the third inning. Back-to-back home runs from Cole Evans and Brice Matthews brought Nebraska back into the game. The following inning, Griffin Everitt joined the charge and hit a solo shot making it 6-3 NDSU.
However, that was when the offense stalled out. Defensively the Big Red worked through more pitchers as they used a committee.
Jackson Brockett pitched the fourth inning and kept the scoreboard clean. Brett Sears then took over in the fifth and struck out two to retire the first three batters he faced. The junior would pitch two more innings, retiring the final six batters he faced.
Corbin Hawkins took over in the eighth inning and once again kept it a clean inning with two strikeouts. He did the same in the ninth and retired three straight.
With one last chance to get back into the game, Brice Matthews sent a ball over the center field wall with a runner on first and NU trailed 6-5. However, with two outs, the final batter struck out and the comeback fell short.
Starting pitching nightmare
Nebraska fell into a deep hole to start this game and never recovered. Kyle Perry did not have it against the Bison, and they took advantage. A five-spot in the first inning had the Huskers fighting back the entire rest of the game.
From the jump, NDSU’s first four batters got on base, and all of those batters rounded home. This put a lot of stress on the offense, and more importantly the bullpen.
Despite that, the bullpen stepped up in this game and kept NU in it. Drew Christo was the only bullpen pitcher to allow a run, and he allowed just one. Following him, Jackson Brockett allowed just one hit and retired the side quickly after.
It was the Big Red’s final two relievers that impressed the most. Brett Sears and Corbin Hawkins pitched the final five innings in this game and allowed no baserunners. In the 15 batters that those two pitchers faced, they retired all 15.
During that time, Sears struck out four batters in his three innings, and Hawkins struck out two. Although Nebraska failed to come back, the bullpen kept them in this one.
Four home runs and a loss
From an offensive standpoint, hitting four home runs puts a team in a strong spot to win a game. However, when three of those are solo shots, it changes the narrative.
All things considered, outside of the first inning, Nebraska played very strong defense. It was enough to keep them in this game. Flipping that to the offense, they did what seemed to be enough to win as well. However, head coach Will Bolt described the plate appearances as “selfish” and that was the downfall of this team.
In a game where a team allows six runs and hits four home runs, they would oftentimes win. However with 16 strikeouts, there weren’t many baserunners outside of the home run balls.
NU shifts the focus to No. 23 Maryland this weekend for a three game series away from home. Friday’s game starts at 5:30 p.m., followed by a 1:00 p.m. start on Saturday and a 12:00 p.m. start on Sunday. All three games will stream on B1G+ (LINK HERE) and are available on the Huskers Radio Network (LINK HERE).
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