Two power lefty pitchers took the mound in Iowa City on Friday night to start the Huskers vs Hawkeyes series. Cade Povich and Trenton Wallace each started off the night making quick work of the opposing offenses. Through 5 innings, each pitcher had 6 strikeouts, and had given up 2 hits. Only Nebraska had an inning with more than 1 baserunner, when Jaxon Hallmark finally broke up the dual no-hitter in the 3rd and Spencer Schwellenbach followed with a walk.
It was in the 5th inning that the game started to change. Joe Acker drew a walk, and with 2 outs, Spencer Schwellenbach smashed a drive to deep left center, only to have Iowa CF Ben Norman crash into the wall while making a catch, robbing a double and a run as Acker was about to round third base and head home. It was the same inning that Povich showed signs of slowing down. His fastball had dropped from 92-93 mph to 86. But Schwellenbach kept the game scoreless with a great play to get to the ball and throw out an Iowa batter.
Schwelly showin' off the leather.— Nebraska Baseball (@Husker_Baseball) March 19, 2021
Headed to the 6th, 0-0. pic.twitter.com/xSiDqb1FVb
It was in the 6th inning that Iowa’s number 9 hitter, Brendan Sher, opened the scoring, as he took the first pitch of the over the left field fence and put Iowa up 1-0. Pinch Hitter Brayden Frazier followed that up with a double on a ball misplayed by Husker LF Logan Foster. And Ben Norman took a 0-1 pitch deep to right center and put the Hawkeyes up 3-0. All in a matter of 5 pitches. Nebraska RF Acker dropped a fly ball later in the inning, committing just the 2nd error by the team this season, to allow another Hawkeye to reach second base.
Nebraska would go quietly the rest of the way, with only a Schwellenbach single providing a baserunner over the last 3 innings. Wallace would finish his day after throwing 104 pitches over 7 innings and striking out 8 Huskers while only allowing 2 hits, dropping his ERA to 0.79. Trace Hoffman would come out to throw the final 2 innings, earning him the save. Povich took the loss, after allowing the 3 earned runs through 6 innings of work.
Nebraska has now struck out 96 times in their 9 games, something that has to improve if they want to move the few baserunners they are getting in this hitting slump. A frustrated coach Bolt said in the postgame, “Just not enough hard hit balls. We’ve got to find the right combination of guys... We’ve done it once this season, we’ve got to do it again.”
The two teams continue their series Saturday at 2pm CDT.