After struggling for the better part of 3 straight games, the Nebraska offense decided to awaken from its slumber on a hot day in Champaign. After a 2 runs in 22 inning streak, the Husker hitters reversed their fortunes and scored in 6 straight innings on Saturday. That combined with another more than solid outing from Emmett Olson meant that the team left the field with some pretty good vibes Saturday, keeping their slim postseason hopes alive.
Max Anderson got the scoring started in the 3rd inning. First, Cam Chick was hit by a pitch for the 16th time this season. One more and he enters the top ten for HBP in a season. Pretty impressive during an era in baseball where the inner part of the plate goes unused by quite a few pitchers. He hobbled down to first, in noticeable pain from the drilling. Luckily he didn’t have to do a lot of running as Anderson deposited the ball over the centerfield fence to give Nebraska a 2-0 lead.
Nebraska followed up the home run with another of many quick innings on the mound by Emmett Olson, who powered through the hot day giving up only 2 runs, while striking out 6 in 6.2 innings of work.
Colby Gomes stepped up to the plate to lead off the 4th inning. All he did was reach down and golf a 1-0 pitch up and out of the park to make it a 3-0 game. On the day he graduated from Nebraska, Gomes hit maybe his hardest ball as a Husker, measured with an exit velocity of 111 mph.
*not a typo*— Nebraska Baseball (@Husker_Baseball) May 14, 2022
one hundred and eleven miles per hour off the bat. ⬇️ https://t.co/LSS6RBtkkw
Things were still just getting started for Nebraska though. In the 5th, following singles from Garrett Anglim and Griffin Everitt, Max Anderson dug into the right handed batters box again. This time he laced a double to the wall, driving in both runners to pick up his 4th RBI on the day, making it 5-0 after 5. But the floodgates remained open in the 6th, with a 2 run home run by Cam Chick that left the yard in a hurry!
Illinois finally got on the board with a sac fly, but Nebraska kept the pressure on in the 7th and was able to score via a bases loaded balk on a rarely used pitcher of the Illini. A couple of manufactured runs in the 8th on an odd infield sac fly, and a wild pitch pushed the game to an 11-2 game.
Koty Frank came in to pitch the Huskers out of a mini jam in the 7th after the scored their 2nd run, and threw the 8th inning under very little pressure. He should be able to come back for the incredibly important Sunday game. Corbin Hawkins pitched the 9th inning to finish off the Illini, and even the series at a game a piece.
The rubber match of the series, and must win game #2 for postseason hopes to continue will be played Sunday at 2pm. You can catch the Huskers on ESPN2 as they battle to get to Omaha.