[Editor’s note - yes, there are two game recaps. I was driving back and didn’t get to Todd’s recap, so Aaron did one. I thought it would be interesting to see two different viewpoints on this shellacking. - Jon J.]
On a beautiful Spring afternoon, it was deja vu all over again as big, bad Rutgers brought their Jersey swagger into Haymarket Park and bullied the hometown nine, leaving Cornhusker faithful wondering if this team is going to be able to win another game. Different season, same result against the Big Ten leading Scarlet Knights.
After losing closely contested games on Friday and Saturday with a chance to win in the bottom of the ninth. Nebraska came into the Sunday matchup looking to avoid being swept and keeping a winning record in conference play.
It must be noted that statistically, Rutgers stood atop the conference in hitting with a .318 team batting average and Nebraska was at the bottom, hitting a measly .247. Nebraska did not have a batter in today’s lineup hitting at or above .300. Rutgers also led the conference in pitching, fielding a team 3.18 ERA and Nebraska a full run and a half higher at 4.88.
What was a statistical miss-match, turned into be a physical one today. When the dust cleared, Rutgers blew out Nebraska 19-1, with a ten run seventh inning that exposed shaky pitching and the inability of Nebraska to respond when the opponent strikes.
As they did in the first game of the series, Rutgers pounced early in the first inning with a home run, this time a two-run dinger by Evan Sleight off starter Dustin McCarville. It was evident that McCarville was off today as he struggled to throw strikes from the get go, facing a total of ten batters in the first two innings before he was pulled with two outs in the second. He was replaced by Elkhorn South freshman Jackson Brockett. The left hander battled tough for 4.1 innings giving up one run and four hits before being pulled for senior, Tyler Martin in the seventh.
Perhaps if they had to do it all over, Nebraska coaches would have stuck Brockett and seen if he could have continued what were the most successful innings Nebraska would have in the game. The Cornhuskers did score their first, and only run in the fourth inning when Cam Chick led off with a double and scored on a Griffin Everitt sacrifice fly.
With Martin on the mound, the Scarlet Knights held batting practice, scoring ten runs on nine hits. Two of those hits were home runs, including a grand slam. Martin gave up the slam to shortstop Danny DiGeorgio and C.J. Hood surrendered a two-run shot to Chris Brito.
Hood gave up two more runs, with a walk, a single, a double, and another walk. Will Walsh then came in, giving up a single that scored the tenth run of the inning before he was able to end the bleeding, striking out Digeorgio on his second at-bat of the inning.
After the top of the seventh inning, down 13-1, Nebraska did not get a hit, struck out four times — three of them looking — and gave up six more runs in the eighth and ninth innings.
Nebraska is now 4-5 in Big Ten and 12-18 overall. Creighton comes to town on Tuesday and then BYU shows up for a four-game series starting on Thursday. Coach Bolt and the team do not have much time to regroup, but need to find answers in all aspects of the game.