For the first time in a long time, Nebraska was able to pull out the “Sunday Blacks!” The uniform they wear when they win the first 2 games of a weekend series and can smell a sweep. After a 2022 season in which we were able to see them only once, a road sweep of Ohio State, you could see the players had an extra buzz about them early on.
The team took that energy and used it to get off to a quick lead yet again versus the Jaguars. Max Anderson continued his assault on opposing pitchers with a 2-out double, and was promptly driven in by a Josh Caron single to right center to give Nebraska the early 1-0 lead. That would be a trend.
The Huskers would strike again in the 2nd. Gabe Swanson singled, advanced on a wild pitch, and then a balk. He was then driven in by the first hit as a Husker of center fielder Cole Evans, for a 2-0 lead. Both runs had been scored with 2 outs, something the Huskers struggled with last week, and last year.
Nebraska wouldn’t stop there. Max Anderson walked to lead off the 3rd, and then he and Josh Caron trotted around the bases, as Caron absolutely obliterated a ball. It ended up clearing the building that houses the Jaguars indoor batting cages out beyond the left field fence. The 2nd and 3rd RBIs for Caron on the day made it 4-0 Nebraska.
Dressed in black for that baseball's funeral. pic.twitter.com/IJVQm1aCoc— Nebraska Baseball (@Husker_Baseball) February 26, 2023
Husker hurler Caleb Clark fought through a tough start, allowing the leadoff batter to hit a single in each of the 4 innings he started. South Alabama would finally break through in the 3rd. USA center fielder Will Turner hit an RBI triple off of the wall, making it a 4-1 ballgame. After the Huskers added a couple runs all started by a fielding error in the 4th, South Alabama would knock a 2 run home run over the right field wall and end Clark’s day, giving up 3 earned runs in 3 innings.
The Huskers would turn the ball over to Incarnate Word transfer Michael Garza. It was easy to see from the word ‘Go!’ that Garza had all of his pitches working. All he would do was pitch the final 6 innings of shutout baseball. He would allow only 1 hit and 1 walk, while striking out 3 and collecting the win for Nebraska.
While they didn’t need anymore runs with Garza on the mound, that did not stop the Husker offense. Three solo home runs would take us to the final score of 9-3. The first came in the 6th off the bat of Garrett Anglim. The last two were back to back in the 9th inning, with Josh Caron hitting his 2nd of the day, and accumulating his 5th RBI of the contest, followed promptly by Charlie Fischer.
Those blasts almost seemed to be the post game fireworks, sending the team off in style following their first non conference, weekend, road sweep in almost 2 decades.
We have scored 29 runs in three games. pic.twitter.com/CFlrx52HK2— Nebraska Baseball (@Husker_Baseball) February 26, 2023
What a difference a week makes. After a week in which the bullpen couldn’t even get the ball over the plate, and were among the national leaders in walks and HBPs, they turned into the strength we all thought they would be going into the season. Only 1 walk and zero HBP in the final 2 games and zero runs allowed in 13.1 total innings of work were a big part of the success the Huskers saw on Stanky Field this weekend.
Not to be outdone, the Nebraska defense held up their end of the bargain, and the offense pounded 7 home runs and 29 total runs out on a pitching staff that is much better than the one seen last week, and should continue to improve as they figure out the roles for all their new arms. The offense wasn’t just from 1 or 2 guys either, it was up and down the lineup scoring, with the big pop coming from Matthews, Anderson, Caron, Anglim, and Fischer.
In a blast from the past, it was the Huskers who ended up taking advantage of the other teams mistakes, piling up runs on when given the opportunity by the shakiness of the Jags defense. That harkens back to the days of the 2000’s, where an opposing mistake meant the Big Red would make you pay on the base paths or they would deposit a mistake pitch in the outfield berm.
Speaking of which, when made aware that this was the first non-con, weekend road sweep since 2005, Coach Bolt simply replied “that was a good year!”