Nebraska vs Creighton baseball at Charles Schwab Field, the artist formerly known as TD Ameritrade Park. You know what that means…
Numerous, unnecessary pitching changes! Slow, defensive, station to station baseball, with some aspect of weird weather in the area. This time it was a screaming wind, coming almost straight in from center field. So much so that the Husker outfield was playing the majority of the game closer to the infield than the warning track.
The game started with Nebraska trying to get promising Freshman Jaxon Jelkin some more experience as a starter, while Creighton countered with Friday night ace Dylan Tebrake. It was Tebrake’s normal night to throw a bullpen session, so Coach Ed Servais put him out on the mound instead. Both pitchers went through the first will relatively little effort.
In the 2nd, Garrett Anglim was able to beat the wind, and the Bluejay LF on a double to the wall. Sensing it would be a typical NU-CU game, the Huskers bunted him over to third, and then Cole Jackson drove him in to give Nebraska a 1-0 lead. It would be short lived, as Creighton used 3 straight 1 out singles and a sacrifice fly to take the 2-1 lead. It was actually a great defensive catch to take away a base hit and extra RBI.
The defenses and pitching would dominate the next few innings, until an bobbled ball by Husker first baseman Jack Steil allows Creighton to score instead of ending the inning, increasing their lead to 3-1. Creighton reliever Paul Bergstrom would continue to hold Husker hitters off balance, retiring 8 in a row, before Jack Steil reached on a huge throwing error by the third baseman, and advanced to second on the same error, to lead off the 7th inning. Core Jackson would hit a single, giving Nebraska runners on the corners with no outs.
Creighton would go get their closer, Tommy Steier, at this point. He would induce a bang-bang double play, but allowed Steil to score, cutting the lead to 3-2. Brice Matthews reached base on another error by the third baseman, but was caught stealing for the first time all season.
Nebraska would threaten again in the 8th with a Cam Chick lead off double into the teeth of the wind, followed by a wild pitch to get Chick to 3rd, and then Max Anderson being hit by a pitch. That hit batter was the last fastball Steir would throw on the night. He would strike out the next 2 Husker hitters, in Griffin Everitt and Garrett Anglim, the two hottest hitters of the last 2 weeks. With 2 outs, Luke Jessen then hit a ground ball to the first baseman, which was bobbled multiple times, however Jessen lost his balance and fell down 2/3rds of the way up the line.
The Huskers would threaten again in the 9th, thanks again to Creighton errors. After a Steil strikeout, Core Jackson hit a ball to the second baseman, who dropped it 3 times, and was unable to throw Jackson out. However, Steir would pick Jackson off first base. Pinch hitter Nick Wimmers singled to deep short stop, and gave way to Leighton Banjoff as a pinch runner. Steir tried to pick him off as well, and threw the ball past the first baseman, the 5th error by Creighton on the night. But Banjoff would end the night on 2nd, after a groundout ended the game. 6 outs, on nothing but 75-78 MPH sliders
Husker batters ended the game 2 for 15 with runners in scoring position. And despite the 5 errors, and multiple other miscues (wild pitches, bobbled balls that runners fell down on) Nebraska couldn’t string together a single crooked number on the scoreboard. Where, as has been the case most of the season, Nebraska made one error, but at the most inopportune time, giving up the deciding run.
Nebraska (9-14) will travel outside the state of Nebraska for the first time in 3 weeks, to take on Ohio State (8-12) in Columbus, Ohio on April 1-3. Two teams that have underachieved the most in the Big Ten so far this year. The loser of this series is going to be in for a long, rigorous climb to try and make the Big Ten tournament, back to where the Husker played tonight.