Yesterday had a bucket hat giveaway for the fans by Nebraska baseball. On Sunday, it was baseballs that were being given away to fans by the Husker offense. 7 home runs left the park by the Big Red. That was the most since a school record 9 homers in the famous 50 run game vs Chicago State on March 16, 1999.
Brice Matthews and Gabe Swansen each had 2 homers on the day. Swansen added a pair of bloop doubles that the 30+ MPH wind took for a ride against the Northwestern defense. They were popped up so high, that he was standing on second base by the time a player was able to pick the ball up. Swansen finished 4 for 5 with 3 runs scored and 6 RBIs. Matthews was right behind him at 3 for 4 with 3 runs scored and 3 RBIs.
They weren’t the only ones with good day offensively, as the Huskers scored in every inning, other than the 8th, when Northwestern finally brought in their closer and best pitcher for the first time all series. Max Anderson got the scoring started in the bottom of the first, as his double brought in Casey Burnham. Anderson went 3 for 3 with a home run, 2 doubles and added 2 walks. Anderson and Garret Anglim would both come around to score in the inning on the wind aided Swansen pop up to shallow right field for a 3-0 lead for the Huskers.
Matthews hit his first home run, a 2 run shot to make it 5-0 after 2. Charlie Fischer led off the 3rd with a triple, and came around to score. Then in the 4th, Matthews hit his 2nd home run of the day. Fischer joined the home run fest in the 5th, and Josh Caron brought in Swansen again on an RBI single for a 9-0 lead after 5.
The 6th is where things really took off. After back to back singles to start the inning, Max Anderson slugged his 13th home run of the season, tying Matthews from earlier in the game for not only the team lead, but conference lead as well. Then 3 pitches later, Garret Anglim continued his comeback, hitting one out to right center for back-to-back home runs. 2 batters later Gabe Swansen got in on the home run party, hitting this one in the 6th and adding one more in the 7th and just like that, it was 18-1 Nebraska.
Will Walsh continued his bid to remain as the Sunday starting pitcher for Nebraska as he threw 5 innings of shutout baseball, and only allowed 2 hits and 1 walk, while striking out 5 Wildcats. After that Jake Bunz provided an inning of relief, giving up a solo home run, his first earned run of the season. Then Nebraska turned to a few guys that had been struggling in Ben Sears, Caleb Clark and Will Rizzo. After a scoreless inning for Sears, Clark gave up 1 run, and Rizzo gave up 3, when a bases clearing double bounced out of the glove of Gabe Swansen on the windy day, providing the final score of 18-5.
Nebraska took over first place in the Big Ten with its 7-2 record (.778 win %) over 2nd place Indiana and their 9-3 record (.750). The first place Huskers next conference series is on the road next weekend at Iowa, who is currently tied for 8th place. Before that though, is round 2 vs Creighton. You’ll recall last game was the coming out party of Will Walsh that night before Nebraska gifted Creighton the win with horrendous pitching in the bottom of the 9th. That game will be Tuesday in Lincoln with first pitch scheduled at 7:02, and can be seen on BTN.