What a difference a day makes.
Less than 24 hours earlier, Omaha was sprinting out of the first base dugout onto Tal Anderson Field, having walked off the reeling Huskers. On Monday afternoon, it was Nebraska’s turn, bolting, if you will, (the rare double pun!) out onto Hawkes Field to intercept a red hot Griffin Everitt at 2nd base after he drove in Max Anderson for the winning run in the bottom of the 9th to end Nebraska’s home opener in thrilling fashion.
After Sunday saw the offense managing only 3 hits vs 11 strikeouts, head coach Will Bolt preached changing and simplifying the approach at the plate. Upon returning to Lincoln, a players only meeting was held as well. While it took a few innings to truly get the bats going, Nebraska pounded out 12 hits against only 6 strikeouts, and putting more balls in play led to 2 errors by the Mavericks as well.
It wasn’t pretty though. Through 5 innings, it seemed like more of the same as Sunday, as Omaha third baseman Mike Boeve had homered for the 2nd consecutive game, and Nebraska gave up an unearned run on a defensive error to give Omaha a 2-0 lead.
But in the bottom of the 6th Griffin Everitt began to put his mark on the game, depositing a ball in the visitors bullpen to give the Huskers their first run of the game. Nebraska would quickly tie it up at 2-2 as Garrett Anglim doubled to bring in Brice Matthews, who himself seems to be returning to form, as he had 3 hits on the day.
The Mavericks would quickly answer with a run of their own in the 7th after Nebraska starter Shay Schanaman exited the game giving up only 1 earned run on 3 hits in 6 innings. The Huskers would storm right back, first as Efry Cervantes hit his first career home run as a Husker to tie the game at 3-3. Following Leighton Banjoff taking a walk and advancing to third on a couple of ground outs, it was again time for Everitt to step to the plate. He wasted little time putting the Huskers on top 5-3 with another home run to right.
Omaha would get runs in both the 8th and 9th innings, the tying run coming on a base hot with 2 outs and 2 strikes on the Maverick hitter in a blown save by Husker relief pitcher Emmitt Olson. Braxton Bragg would come in bail Nebraska out of a bases loaded situation to keep the game tied going to the bottom of the 9th. And that’s when Max Anderson and Griffin Everitt sent Husker fans home with a smile on their faces.
In all Everitt went 4 for 5 with 2 home runs, a double, and the walk off single (which would have been a double had the game not ended midway between the bases). His 4 RBIs and 2 runs scored should put him in contention for some conference awards this week.
Nebraska (5-9) continues their long home stand with a 2 games series against New Mexico State (9-4) that starts Tuesday, March 15th at 6:35 pm. The Huskers will not leave the state of Nebraska for a game until April 1st. They will meet the Mavericks (5-10) again on April 6th in Omaha to continue their now 4 game season series.