It was a weird and wild game, but the Nebraska baseball team got a much needed 7-6 walkoff win over the #17 Indiana Hoosiers on Saturday afternoon. Cade Povich pitched four strong innings before a rain delay ended his day early. The offense took advantage of five Hoosier errors to start their weekend with a win.
Povich started quickly, he struck out six of the first seven batters he faced, holding the Hoosiers scoreless through two innings.
With a light rain falling, the Huskers cracked the scoreboard first in the second. Max Anderson started the inning off with a single. Luke Roskam put two on when he reached on the first Hoosier error of the day. Nebraska successfully executed a sacrifice bunt and then got a RBI groundout from Mojo Hagge to score the first run of the game.
With a runner on third and two outs, Jack Steil doubled the Husker lead with a double down the left field line. Joe Acker was hit by a pitch but Jaxon Hallmark hit a line drive to Cole Barr at third to end the Husker threat.
Barr cut the deficit to one with a home run to right center in the third inning.
The Huskers expanded the lead in their half of the third. Griffin Everitt walked and then stole second with one out. A Hagge infield hit put runners on the corners. Mojo was picked off but an errant throw allowed Hagge to move to third and Everitt to score. Steil then executed a suicide squeeze to push the lead to 4-1.
Then the rain came. A hour long rain delay knocked both Povich and the Hoosier starting pitcher out of the game.
Nebraska brought on Koty Frank first out of the bullpen. Frank struggled to find the strikezone and walked three of the first batters he faced. He did manage to cut down a lead runner on a sacrifice bunt attempt. A sacrifice fly scored one, but brought Frank to within one out of getting Nebraska out of the jam. Barr had other ideas as he went to dead center for a three run home run to give the Hoosiers the lead.
The Hoosiers kept Nebraska off the scoreboard in the fifth thanks to a home run stealing catch off the bat of Roskam.
Jake Bunz was brought on in relief of Frank and posted zeros in both the sixth and seventh innings.
The Huskers retook the lead in the seventh inning. Acker drew a leadoff walk after being down in the count 1-2. Hallmark then bunted perfectly up the first baseline and the fifth Indiana error put runners on second and third with no one out. Spencer Schwellenbach delivered with a single past the diving Barr at third base to make it a 5-5 game. After Cam Chick struck out, Anderson grounded out to Barr but scored Hallmark to make it 6-5 Huskers.
Bunz would get Barr to lineout to Roskam at third to start the eighth. A one out walk and a fielder’s choice would see Nebraska turn to Schwellenbach to get the final out of the eighth. A double and a pair of walks forced in a run to tie the game. Schwellenbach got a grounder right back to him to keep the game tied at six.
Nebraska would be on the receiving end of some bad calls in the bottom of the eighth. Everitt was punched out on a pitch at the ankles on a 3-2 borderline call. The Husker dugout got a warning from home plate umpire Matt Neader. Hagge then hit a sharp ground ball to second which appeared to pull the first baseman off the bag but he was also called out. Acker made the third out with a strikeout.
Schwellenbach calmed down and made it through the heart of the Hoosier order getting a pair of strikeouts before Barr grounded out back to Spencer to end the Indiana 9th.
That set the stage for the walkoff win for the Huskers. Hallmark made the first out of the inning when he struck out. Spencer would work an eight pitch walk to put the winning run on. Chick would hit a check swing tapper to the right side which resulted in an infield hit where Schwellenbach went from 1st to 3rd base. Hellstrom would pinch hit for Efry Cervantes and would deliver a hard hit ball just to the right of the second baseman. He had no play as Schwellenbach scored to deliver a 7-6 Husker win.
Nebraska gave up just three hits but walked 10 Indiana batters. The Huskers have to feel good to get a win in the books over the Big Ten leader Hoosiers and now have the chance to set up for a potential huge doubleheader. Nebraska had to use their premium arms to get the win, but still any win over the Big Ten leader looks huge for a postseason resume.