Garrett Anglim hit his first home run of his Nebraska career today in the first inning of Game 1 of a doubleheader against Iowa. Then an inning later, he hit his second. And in the third inning, he clobbered his third! Three innings, three home runs from the freshman right fielder out of La Vista. He is the first Cornhusker to hit three round trippers in a game since Dan Johnson did it back in 2001.
Nebraska could not have asked for a better start to a game than they got today. Starter Emmett Olson, the lefty from Illinois, struck out the first three Hawkeyes he faced. Then it got even better when the Big Red got their turn at the plate.
After Cam Chick struck out looking, Garrett Anglim hit his first home run of the season to put the Cornhuskers up 1-0. Griffin Everitt then got a hit. He was forced at second base with a Max Anderson shot down the third base line. Leighton Banjoff then came to the plate and worked a walk from Big Ten Pitcher of the Week, Connor Schultz. With two on and two out, Brice Matthews got one up into the jet stream for a three-run homer. After one inning, Nebraska was up 4-0.
Olson continued his dominance in the second inning with two more strikeouts before the Cornhuskers got their second turn at bat. The boys wearing their beautiful scarlet and cream uniforms put two more on the board with Gabe Swansen leading off the inning with a single and scoring two batters later on Anglim’s second homer of the day. All of the momentum was on the side of the team in the third base dugout.
Olson had his only blemish of the day in the Hawkeye third inning giving up a one run homer to left fielder, Sam Peterson. However, it did not take long for Nebraska hitters long to respond as they batted around in the bottom of the third against three Hawkeye pitchers, putting up six more runs.
After Leighton Banjoff struck out, Schultz struggle with his control, walking Brice Matthews. Core Jackson then hit a sharp ball up the middle that second baseman Izzy Fullard threw wide of second trying to force Matthews, who then scampered to third. After Jackson stole second, designated hitter Gabe Swansen drew a walk, loading the bases.
Coach Rich Heller had seen enough of his starter, and brought in Jacob Henderson. Nine-hole hitter Efry Cervantes then came up and stroked a two RBI singled, leaving Swansen at third while he was standing on first base.
Then things got goofy!
Cam Chick hit a blast to left-center that Michael Seegers leaped up against the wall to try and catch. The ball bounced off the wall and right into Seeger’s hand, which he fired back to the infield. Swansen scored as he had a good angle to see the ball bounce off the wall.
Cervantes thought it was caught and was going back to first base. That was when Chick ran past him as he also could see it was not caught. When the dust cleared, Chick was out because he passed the runner in front of him.
The Iowa skipper pulled Henderson at that point and brought in Benjamin DeTaeye, who promptly threw a fastball into Anglim’s wheelhouse. When he turned to follow its flight, DeTaeye saw it bounce on top of the hill beyond the left field wall for the fifth and sixth runs of the inning. Nebraska was up 12-1 when the DeTaeye was finally able to get Core Jackson to ground out.
With an 11-run lead, Emmett Olson was able to pitch without pressure, and boy, did he respond. At times he was hitting 97 mph with his pitches. Because of the doubleheader on Sunday, the ten-run rule was put in place for Game 1 today, and Olson only faced ten more Hawkeye hitters the rest of the way, recording two more strikeouts and only giving up one more hit.
Garrett Anglim had a career day with three home runs, and Olson had perhaps his best outing on the mound this season, shutting down a very good hitting Iowa Hawkeye team. The Game 1 win tied the series at one game each.
Koty Frank took the mound for Nebraska to start the second game of the day, and the final one of the series. The Texan has pitched better recently and got off to a good start, taking care of the first two Hawkeye batters. After that, designated hitter Keaton Anthony took a fastball deep for a home run to get the boys from Iowa off to a 1-0 lead.
Nebraska came right back in their half of the first inning when the Chick-Anglim duo got things going. Chick smashed a single the opposite way against Hawkeye starter Ty Langenberg. Then Anglim executed the hit-and-run like it is drawn up, slapping a single where second baseman Izzy Fullard wasn’t. Chick popped up and took off for third, and didn’t slow down when the right fielder bobbled the ball. Tie ballgame!
Iowa went up 3-1 in the third inning when their best hitter, and one of the top hitters in the Big Ten Conference, Peyton Williams hit a two-run home run, also bringing in Kyle Huckstorf, who had led off the inning with a single. Frank got his composure back and struck out the next batter, and three more in the fourth inning. In the meantime, Langerberg was pitching solid, limiting the Cornhuskers to three baserunners until the sixth inning, and only giving up three hits.
Recognizing how big this game is for Nebraska post-season hopes, Coach Bolt opted to bring in closer Braxton Bragg in the fifth inning. With the whole bullpen available, with the exception of anyone named Frank, Olson, and Schanaman, Bolt was rolling the dice that Bragg could shut down the Hawkeyes. Up to this point, Iowa had scored all of their four runs in the series via the home run.
Braxton Bragg sat down the Hawkeyes in order in the sixth and then the Cornhusker offense came alive once again. Iowa closer Dylan Nedved entered in the 6th. Nedved doesn’t throw as hard as a lot of pitchers, but batters have a hard time picking up the ball in his lanky motion, and his slider is particularly tough to hit. Nedved is Iowa’s former starting shortstop, filling a Spencer Schwellenbach-type role last year before becoming a pitcher only this season.
Griffin Everitt was not impressed and greeted him with a single up the middle, followed by a singled to left by Max Anderson. Leighton Banjoff then bunted the ball, but Nedved, the former shortstop, made a great defensive play, and threw out the lead runner Everitt at third base.
Brice Matthews then cam to the plate and hit another single off the closer, loading the bases for Core Jackson. Nedved struggled with his control, and walked Core Jackson, bringing home Anderson. Next up was Gabe Swansen, who hit a grounder deep to second. Fullard’s only play was to flip the ball to Seegers at short to force out Jackson. Banjoff scored on the play. Unfortunately, pinch hitter Nick Wimmers left two runners stranded as he flew out to left field. But, Nebraska had tied the score at 3 all.
At that point, Bragg and Nedved battled and took control of the game for both teams, though Iowa stranded a runner at third base in the top of the ninth.
For the first time in the 2022 season, Nebraska went to extra innings with Tyler Martin on the mound. Bragg has gone a career long five innings, throwing 89 pitches and striking out six. He showed a lot of courage and toughness in this must-win ballgame.
Iowa put in Anthony Mangano to pinch hit for Kyle Huckstorf. Martin got ahead in the count, but could not get a strike three call on two pitches that the announcers claim were definite strikes according to the TrackMan technology they have access to. At that point, Mangano looped a ball in to short left-center for a base hit.
With the go-ahead run on first, lead-off man, Michael Seegers, hitless for the series, faked a bunt and slapped the ball past a charging Max Anderson. Both of those runners would eventually score, putting Iowa up 5-3. That ended up the final as Nebraska went down in order in their half of the tenth, after Cam Chick led off with a single.
Iowa wins the series 2-1 after scoring only seven runs on the weekend. Nebraska pitching was very good, holding down one of the best hitting teams in the conference. Two of Iowa’s vaunted .300 hitters saw their average drop below that level, and overall, Nebraska played well enough to win all three games. But, that’s baseball.
Nebraska is not playing a mid-week game this week because it is dead week for the university.
The team is back in action next Friday in Minneapolis as they will take on Big Ten cellar-dwellers, the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Nebraska must at a minimum win that series, though a sweep may be necessary to get the team into position to play in the Big Ten Tournament.