The Nebraska Baseball team 1-0 (0-0 Big Ten) started the 2019 campaign with a 21-6 comeback victory of the University of California-Riverside Friday night. Connor Curry was outstanding in relief of Chad Luensmann, earning the win with four innings in his first effort of the season.
Nebraska took a 3-0 lead with a single run in the second and a pair in the third. Spencer Schwellenbach got credit for driving in the run in the second inning when he was hit by a pitch after the Huskers loaded the bases.
In the third, the Huskers got contributions from more new faces. Aaron Palensky was hit by a pitch and went to third on a Luke Roskam single. Freshman Cam Chick came through with a sacrifice fly before Jaxon Hallmark scored Roskam with a base hit.
Luensmann would run into trouble in both the home half of the third and the fourth. He was charged with giving up zero earned runs due to three Husker errors. Unfortunately for the Huskers, he gave up a bases loaded single and a walk in the third to cut the lead to 3-2.
Head Coach Darin Erstad was forced to go to his bullpen in the fourth after Luensmann loaded the bases and surrendered the lead due to an error. Ted Silva made the call to get Connor Curry, and boy did it work. Curry limited the damage in the fourth, and gave the Huskers four solid innings of work.
While Curry was doing work dealing on the mound for the Huskers, Nebraska had silent innings in both the fifth and the sixth after falling behind.
Nebraska exploded in the seventh, batting around and platting six runs to take a 9-5 lead. Angelo Altavilla started the rally with one out, getting a base hit to bring up Gunner Hellstrom. Hellstrom got an infield base hit, before Palensky singled to cut the lead to 5-4. Hallmark then singled to give the Huskers a 6-5 with a pair of outs.
With two outs, and the Huskers clinging to a 6-5 lead, Mojo Hagge doubled down the left field line to give the Huskers some insurance and extend the lead to 8-5. A Joe Acker double allowed Hagge to score to run the lead to 9-5.
After Curry set down the Highlanders in order in the seventh, the Huskers took advantage of free passes, wild pitches, and errors in the eighth. Five walks came around to score and the Huskers batted around for the second consecutive inning to take a 16-5 lead.
Curry was replaced by Ben Klenke on the mound in the home half of the eighth. Klenke got a pair of strikeouts while pitching a clean 1-2-3 inning.
Nebraska scored five more times in the ninth to take it up to a 21-5 lead. Klenke came back out for the ninth, and gave up an unearned run to Riverside in the ninth to secure the Huskers first win of the season.
Nebraska and Riverside return to the field on Saturday when they are scheduled for a doubleheader. The Huskers are set to send Reece Eddins to the hill in the first contest at 2:00 p.m. Nate Fisher takes the hill for the Huskers 30 minutes after the first game ends.