On a cold March afternoon, one that just screams “baseball weather,” the Huskers stayed hot against the Redbirds. It took a while for the potent Husker offense to get going, as both starting pitchers, Emmett Olson and Derek Salata, had great command of their pitches.
Nebraska was able to squeak a run across in the first inning, using a single and stolen base by Brice Matthews, followed by a couple productive outs, with Max Anderson provding the RBI to get the lead 1-0.
Following that score, a lot of zeros were posted by the pitchers in the next few innings. Olson was working with all of his pitches for strikes, and Salata mixed a low 90s fastball, with a big, slow curve that started behind a right handed pitchers head, and could still drop in for a strike.
In the fifth inning it ended up being Brice Matthews who again sparked Nebraska, as he uncorked on a fastball and drove a no-doubter into the wind, that just snuck inside the foul pole for a 2 run home run. Bringing the score to 3-0, Huskers. Matthews finished 3-4 with a walk to push his avg up to .429 on the season.
The seventh inning was where both teams went to the bullpen. After giving up a 2 run home run to ISU catcher Nick Strong, Olson gave way to Shay Schanaman. Olson finished the day giving up 4 hits and 2 runs with 8 Ks in 6 innings. Schanaman would actually finish the game earning his first save, giving up a garbage time run in the ninth inning.
The Husker offense would also finally chase Salata from the game, after he struck out 10 and gave up 3 earned runs over his 6 innings. The Redbirds bullpen has been struggling all season, and it continued tonight.
Following yet another Matthews hit, Max Anderson drilled a triple to the wall, that had the RF spinning like a top as he tried to track it down. Husker catcher Josh Caron would immediately double to drive in Anderson, and was brought in by an RBI single from senior captain Efry Cervantes. A 2 RBI double by center fielder Casey Burnham finished the scoring for the Big Red giving them an 8-2 lead, before allowing a ninth inning run to give us the final score of 8-3.
Triple double? Ballin' like it's March Madness. pic.twitter.com/pvWTm9JGuC— Nebraska Baseball (@Husker_Baseball) March 11, 2023
The Matthews home run gave the Huskers a school record 12 straight games with a home run. And the defense again went errorless, and remains in the top 10, on a cold night where ball handling could have very well been an issue. What a difference a year makes with those two stats.
Nebraska will try to take the series vs the Redbirds on Saturday, March 11th, back at Haymarket Park, with the new first pitch time being moved to 4:05 pm central time with the possibility of weather in the early afternoon.