Fresh off the biggest win since Arkansas in 2021, the Huskers took on a Hawaii team fresh off a victory of its own, over Minnesota the night before. It was Nebraska though that picked up where it left off. Jace Kaminska continued the streak of impressive Husker pitching of the past few games, going 6 innings, allowing 4 hits and no earned runs.
Back-to-back Big Red quality starts.— Nebraska Baseball (@Husker_Baseball) March 4, 2023
6.0 IP / 0 ER / 4 H / 3 K / 1 BB pic.twitter.com/73xqv25zVL
It was the offense that really shined for the Big Red though. For the 4th straight game, the Huskers recorded at least 13 hits, finishing with a season high 18 on the day. They were led on the day by Gabe Swansen, the sophmore outfielder who has been barreling up balls the last few games. Today he went 3 for 5, with 2 doubles, a home run and 4 RBIs.
The game actually started out looking like an ole’ fashioned pitchers dual. Husker starter Jace Kaminska made swift work of the Warriors, who had multiple hot hitters to start the season. All while Hawaii’s Randy Abshier was anything but swift in his half of the innings. Multiple times, the pitch clock was down to two, one or seemingly even zero, with no call by the umpires. That would all come into play as the game moved along.
Abshier was a career reliever at Arizona before transferring to Hawaii. He has also had not pitched many innings in his two starts in 2023, so Nebraska did not expect to see him on the mound long. So it was no surprise when Nebraska started to hit the ball hard in the 2nd and 3rd innings, even though it didn’t end up producing any runs.
In the 4th, the balls began to find grass, with Husker catcher Josh Caron banging a single up the middle. He was then called out on a pickoff, one that had multiple Nebraska coaches calling for a balk. Not to be deterred, Griffin Everitt reached base with a single of his own. Garrett Anglim then took an 0-1 pitch and crushed it over the fence in left-center. The only problem is the umpires used that opportunity to call the first pitching clock violation on Abshier, wiping the runs off the board, and bringing Anglim back.
Anglim would end up walking, bringing up Gabe Swansen. He quickly drilled an 0-1 pitch of his own off the tarp covered seats in right field, and brought both runners around to score with the 2 RBI double. Vindication for the Husker offense. And they were just warming up.
An RBI triple by second baseman Max Anderson pushed the lead to 3-0 in the 5th. Anderson finished a home run short of the cycle with his 3 hits, pushing his average on the season to .500, and he had 3 RBIs on the day.
Hit and run to perfection.— Nebraska Baseball (@Husker_Baseball) March 4, 2023
Gritty beats pretty. pic.twitter.com/CNYvwgaeJ7
The 6th inning is where Nebraska finally opened this game up. The bottom of the order, led by a Swansen double, loaded the bases and set the table for the top of the order to do its damage. Three straight RBI singles by Brice Matthews, Dylan Carey, and Max Anderson, stuffed around an error by Hawaii pushed the lead to 8-0 Huskers.
Carey and Anderson would each drive in another run each in the 7th, but it was Swansen in the 8th inning that provided the big exclamation point on the day. He lifted the first pitch he saw, and deposited it into the left field seats for a 2 run home run.
We've hit a home run in 8 straight games.— Nebraska Baseball (@Husker_Baseball) March 4, 2023
Is that good? pic.twitter.com/5ni45stURe
The one blip on the day would be the end of the Husker bullpen’s streak of shutout innings. With the big lead when Kaminska was lifted from the game, Nebraska coaches put some guys out there who were trying to work on some things and who haven’t gotten off to the best start on the season. The streak ended at 16.2 innings, as reliever Ben Sears struggled, allowing 2 solo home runs and 2 doubles in his 1.1 innings. Jake Bunz and Drew Christo would finish the game, striking out 3 batters in the final inning and 2/3rds.
With that 12-3 win, Nebraska is set to take on #4 ranked Ole Miss on Sunday, with first pitch set for 1:30 pm CT. When asked about the team looking ahead to Sunday, Coach Bolt praised how well the defense has been playing, and preached how the pitchers need to continue throwing strikes. The pitching staff as a whole has only allowed 8 walks over the last 4 games, which is light years different from what transpired on the diamond in San Diego. If the Huskers do that, according to Coach Bolt, “the hits will come.” Right now, that is an understatement.