Nebraska baseball scored four runs in the bottom of the 9th inning as Leighton Banjoff hit a 2-run RBI single with 2 outs to give our beloved Huskers a 13-12 win over the Islanders of Texas A&M Corpus Christi. It was Nebraska’s third walk-off win in the last four games.
AND IT WAS WILD!
Starter Kyle Perry left the game with an apparent injury to his throwing arm, in the first inning after giving up 2 runs on 2 hits, including a double and a homer to give TAM-CC a 2-0 lead. You will recall Perry worked his way back at the end of last year from an injury to the same arm, to start some of the biggest games for Nebraska in their clinching of the big ten championship, and in the postseason. There was no word on the seriousness of his injury, but remember Nebraska also lost pitcher Jake Bunz earlier in the season.
Koty Frank came in to a shell shocked team and stadium full of fans to get the final out of the first inning. After a brief team meeting in the dugout where Coach Will Bolt reminded the team that “KP (Perry) would want them to go out and compete”, Nebraska tied it up when Max Anderson singled, then Griffin Everitt hit his 6th homer of the season. Frank went two innings, giving up 6 hits and 4 runs (1 earned), and never looked comfortable on the mound for the entirety of his outing.
It was 6-3 entering the sixth inning, but the Nebraska bats came alive, kind of, somewhat aided by Islander pitching. Cam Chick started the inning be hit by a pitch. He then advanced to second on a passed ball. Efry Cervantes advanced Chick to third on a sacrifice fly, then Banjoff walked.
Then things got fun. With two outs, Nebraska scored 5 runs. Max Anderson singled, scoring Chick. Everitt hit a two-run triple, scoring Anderson and Banjoff. Then Brice Matthews homered, scoring Everitt, and himself, obviously.
It looked like Nebraska took control of the game, but NO!
The Islanders answered by scoring 4 runs of their own in the 7th. The runs came off four walks by usually more reliable guy Tyler Martin and a Nebraska throwing error. TAM-CC added two more runs in the 8th inning as Martin gave way to Mason Ornelas after walking two consecutive batters. Ornelas gave up a 2 RBI single, then struck out the last batter of the inning.
Ornelas put the Islanders down 1-2-3 in the top of the 9th, getting a fly out, a ground out and a strike out.
Entering the 9th inning:
- Nebraska was down 12-9.
- Their starting pitcher and captain Kyle Perry had left with an injury.
- They’d missed three foul balls that could have been outs... maybe because of the wind.
- They’d committed three errors.
- They’d walked 9 batters, hit one, and had thrown 209 total pitches using 7 pitchers.
Things were looking kind of bleak, honestly.
Then Matthews hit a lead-off double. Garrett Anglim ground out, but advanced Matthews to third.
Mathews scored on a wild pitch.
Jash Caron struck out looking.
Nebraska was down to their final out.
Cam Chick drew a walk.
Colby Gomes pinch hit for Jack Steil, then got hit by a pitch.
Core Jackson doubled down the left field line, scoring Chick and advancing Sartori, who had pinch run for Gomes, to third.
Banjoff singled to left field, scoring Sartori and Jackson and the celebration ensued!
NEVER COUNT THIS TEAM OUT.— Nebraska Baseball (@Husker_Baseball) March 19, 2022
ANOTHER WALK OFF WIN FOR THE BIG RED. pic.twitter.com/OFRiYBcMHx
This game seemed to be the first game where as Coach Bolt constantly says “Your dudes have to be your dudes.” Griffin Everitt continued to be the hottest hitter in the country this week, finishing a single short of the cycle. Brice Matthews busted out of the early season slump he has been climbing out of slowly the past couple weeks with a double and home run. Max Anderson went 2 for 5 and missed a home run by about 3 feet. And Leighton Banjoff, well, just watch the tweet above. Watch it over and over again. It gets better every time!!
We’ll have to see what’s up with Kyle Perry’s injury. Hopefully it’s not... serious. He has been THE emotional leader for this team, even when he wasn’t a captain or even playing last year. Coach Bolt put him on the travel roster each week in 2021 despite him being unavailable to play. That makes what this team did tonight after his quick exit even more remarkable.
Bigger than baseball. pic.twitter.com/mALIwXDnY1— Nebraska Baseball (@Husker_Baseball) March 19, 2022
The two teams will play again Saturday March 19th at 2:05pm, with Shay Schanaman taking the mound for Nebraska. With all of the pitchers used Friday night, the Huskers will be hoping he can eat up a lot of innings to get this pitching staff back on schedule.