Nebraska grabbed an early lead, but Arkansas managed to come back and has advanced to the NCAA Super Regional after a 6-2 win on Monday night. Luke Roskam homered in his final game and Cade Povich had a solid start for the Huskers.
Going up against Jaxon Wiggins, Nebraska went down in order in the first. Povich worked around a two out walk to also put up a scoreless first.
Wiggins fell behind Roskam and Roskam made him pay. On a 3-1 count he got a fastball which he demolished pulling it off the building in right field. The ball appeared to still be rising as it hit off the brick in right for a 1-0 Husker lead.
After Arkansas went 1-2-3 in the second, Nebraska scored again. Mojo Hagge walked and Logan Foster followed with another walk. In came Kevin Kopps, star reliever for Arkansas. Joe Acker laid down a beautiful bunt that he almost beat out for a successful sacrifice. A two strike groundout from Jaxon Hallmark scored Hagge. Spencer Schwellenbach was robbed of a two out RBI hit by Christian Franklin in center to keep it a 2-0 game.
With Kopps and Povich in the game, the defenses settled in and we remained scoreless unitl the Arkansas fifth.
Casey Opitz led off the inning by pulling an inside fastball from Povich into the seats in left field for the Hogs first run. Povich gave up a one out double and a walk and his day was done. In came Cam Wynne and he was able to put out the fire getting Matt Goodheart to fly out and Cayden Wallace to fly out as well.
Wynne would not be so lucky in the sixth inning when he gave up the tying run on a two out home run to Robert Moore, son of Royals General Manager Dayton Moore. Opitz grounded out to shortstop to end the sixth, but the game was tied.
Starting in the seventh, the strikezone began to be a problem again. Husker hitters started expanding the strikezone against Kopps and home plate umpire Steve Mattingly became increasingly friendly to Arkansas.
Kopps pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning and Nebraska responded by going back to the bullpen for Emmitt Olson. Olson got the lefty lefty matchup against Cullen Smith. Smith popped up to Brice Matthews at third. An infield hit put a runner on and Nebraska went to Koty Frank. Frank got Zack Gregory and Goodheart to flyout.
Frank came back out for the eighth inning after Kopps against set the Huskers down in order. Koty got the first two outs of the eighth. He then battled Franklin in the at bat of the game. He went outside on a curveball and got a foul tip that Griffin Everitt was unable to hold onto. That would go down as one of the five foul balls in the at bat and Frankin drew a walk on the tenth pitch.
After Frank walked Franklin, he then followed up with a walk to Moore. He went 2-0 to Opitz and the call to the bullpen was made for Jake Bunz. Bunz was screwed on his first two pitches and he walked Opitz on two pitches. After his third ball, he threw a fifty eight foot pitch in the dirt that Everitt had no chance at and it platted the go ahead run for Arkansas. Pinch hitter Charlie Welch then launched the 2-0 meatball into the stands in left for a three run home run.
Working his season long outing, Kopps was able to put away the Huskers with only Cam Chick reaching by a hit batter in the ninth inning.
Nebraska’s season ends in the Regional Championship and there is no shame. For a team that was predicted to not finish in the top six of the conference, Nebraska pushed the top seed Arkansas and has nothing to be ashamed of.
Playing their last game tonight were seniors Luke Roskam, Jaxon Hallmark, Joe Acker, Logan Foster, Gunner Hellstrom, and Mojo Hagge from a position player standpoint. Max Schreiber, Chance Hroch, and Trey Kissack.
A special appreciate to both Spencer Schwellenbach and Cade Povich who both have possibly played their last games as Huskers. Schwellenbach has been mentioned as possibly a first round draft pick and Povich could go in the top five rounds as well.
We will have more coverage on the end of the season, but great job Huskers nothing but pride tonight of how you fought to the end and pushed for the best. Will Bolt you sir are a great coach.