The Nebraska baseball team came roaring back from a 5-0 deficit to defeat the Illinois Illini 12-7 in a Easter Sunday contest. Nebraska won their third straight series while remaining in first place in the Big Ten standings.
Easter did not get off to a good start for the Huskers. They quickly went down in order and soon fell behind on the scoreboard. Working against Husker starter Shay Schanaman Taylor Jackson was able to draw a leadoff walk. Branden Comia continued his hot hitting ways with a two run home run to left.
The Huskers were kept off the scoreboard, while Illinois was able to expand their lead. A hit batter and a single by Jackson brought up Jackson Raper who delivered with a double. Schanaman got Comia to strikeout before a sacrifice fly brought the end of Shay’s day. Koty Frank was summoned out of the bullpen and gave up an infield single allowing Raper to score and push the lead to 5-0. Frank was able to get Cam Mcdonald to ground out to Luke Roskam at first.
Nebraska started to cut into the lead in the fourth inning. Jaxon Hallmark led off the inning with a solo home run to left field. Cam Chick followed that two batters later with his own inside the park home run to make it a 5-2 deficit.
On the board. ✔️— Nebraska Baseball (@Husker_Baseball) April 4, 2021
Solo shot @HallmarkJaxon. pic.twitter.com/gCx8zxFJIy
HE DID IT THE HARD WAY.@CChick_13 rounds 'em all for an inside-the-park HR.— Nebraska Baseball (@Husker_Baseball) April 4, 2021
Huskers battling back. pic.twitter.com/m1XAz0xTTt
Illinois managed to get a single run back in the fifth inning when Raper hit his second home run of the weekend over the wall in left. Frank was able to work around a hit batter with the help of a pickoff and a lineout to end the fifth.
As he has all year, Hallmark got a big rally started in the sixth inning. He started off with a solid single up the middle, bringing up Spencer Schwellenbach. Schwellenbach muscled a ball out to left for his second home run of the weekend to make it a 6-4 game.
#SchwellenBOMB— Nebraska Baseball (@Husker_Baseball) April 4, 2021
WE GOT A GAME HERE, FOLKS. pic.twitter.com/5SQTOwKmj5
Chick struck out for the first out before Max Anderson singled to Comia at shortstop. Roskam reached on a fielder’s choice for two outs. Griffin Everitt singled to extend the inning and Leighton Banjoff was hit by a pitch to bring up Bryce Matthews. Matthews delivered a crushing blow with a bases clearing double off the wall in left.
SPECIAL DELIVERY @BriceMatthews5 is at the door and he's got the lead for the Big Red. pic.twitter.com/eeoCXWN8GF— Nebraska Baseball (@Husker_Baseball) April 4, 2021
Just for good measure, Joe Acker launched another home run over the wall in left field to score Matthews and make it a 9-6 game.
Is there a sweeter sound in sports? ⬆️— Nebraska Baseball (@Husker_Baseball) April 4, 2021
9-6 now, courtesy @joeacker5. pic.twitter.com/xGrUdwO5rS
Frank set Illinois down in a shutdown bottom of the sixth inning. He came back out for the seventh and got the first batter before allowing Jackson to reach on a single. With a 1-0 count on Raper, Nebraska went and got Jake Bunz out of the bullpen. Raper would ground out, moving Jackson to second. Comia brought the Illini closer with a single into center field but that was all Illinois would get.
Looking for insurance in the eighth inning, Nebraska found it. Matthews had a one out walk and stole second to put a runner in scoring position. Acker singled to put runners at the corners for Hallmark. Hallmark struck out on three straight bunt attempts. With two outs, Matthews took matters into his own hands, and stole home on a slow throw back to the pitcher.
DON'T SLEEP— Nebraska Baseball (@Husker_Baseball) April 4, 2021
ON @BriceMatthews5. pic.twitter.com/TAwx7QKdwU
Nebraska continued working on adding more insurance in the eighth. Schwellenbach ripped a double down the left field line to score Acker who was on the move from first. Spencer then scored on a single from Chick to make it a 12-7 game. Chick would steal second, but a groundout from Anderson ended the inning.
BAT. ON. BALL.@spencerschwell does it a lot. Like, a lot, a lot. pic.twitter.com/K2XpWa7PmX— Nebraska Baseball (@Husker_Baseball) April 4, 2021
Will Bolt and Jeff Christy made an interesting decision in the bottom of the eighth. They turned the ball over to Schwellenbach for two inning stint. It would set his longest outing of the year if he could complete it. Spencer got the Illini 1-2-3 with a pair of strikeouts.
After a scoreless top of the ninth inning, Schwellenbach came back out. A leadoff single off the wall in right would prove huge. Spencer was able to induce a comebacker which he threw to Efry Cervantes who threw to Jack Steil to complete the double play. Jackson was the Illini last hope and he struck out on three pitches to secure the Husker victory.
Nebraska now moves to 13-5 and solo first place in the Big Ten. Nebraska now returns home to face the Maryland Terrapins next weekend. First pitch Friday night is set for 6:30 p.m.