On yet another windy weekend afternoon at Hawks Field at Haymarket Park, the Huskers found themselves in a surprisingly big game against the Golden Gophers. After losing 9-7 in the 9th inning on Friday and rolling to an 18-0 blowout Saturday, Nebraska needed a series win before traveling to first place Maryland next weekend.
The game was close early, as Husker starting pitcher Will Walsh was allowing baserunners, but keeping the Gopher offense at bay. Nebraska on the other hand, took advantage of multiple Minnesota errors to gain their first run in the bottom of the first. An overthrow of first base allowed Max Anderson to not only reach base safely, but get second base as well. A bobbled ball on the next play by the third baseman allowed him to reach third, and he strolled into home on a wild pitch.
Minnesota rolled out a completely different pitcher than on Saturday. While that pitcher could hit 100 mph routinely, todays hit 89-90 and had a lot of movement on both the fastball and change up. He had Nebraska in fits trying to figure it out until he started to lose his control in the 4th.
To start the 4th, the Huskers loaded the bases by getting hit by a pitch and then back to back walks. A passed ball gave Nebraska its 2nd unearned run of the game. Josh Caron then drove in a run with an RBI single, and Cole Evans turned on the first pitch he saw and hit a 3 run home run straight into the wind.
The inning continued as Brice Matthews was hit in the head by a pitch, took 2nd on a hit and run, and then on the same play went all the way home as the right fielder bobbled the ball. Casey Burnham who ended up on 2nd on the play, stole third and was brought in on a Max Anderson sacrifice fly. Gabe Swanson added the exclamation point on the inning, hitting a solo home run over the top of the Minnesota bullpen. 8 runs in the inning provided a 9-0 lead for the Big Red.
We've got a snowman on the scoreboard in this inning.— Nebraska Baseball (@Husker_Baseball) April 30, 2023
Thankfully that's the only snowman in Nebraska right now. pic.twitter.com/kDZwlptk3S
Minnesota was able to finally get to Will Walsh for 3 runs in the 6th. With a triple off the wall and 2 run home run providing the damage. Walsh would finish the inning and get the quality start, allowing the 3 runs on 5 hits in 6 innings with 5 Ks and 1 walk. Unlike last week, he was able to control his fastball and get up on batters with early strikes.
The Gophers scratched across a run each in the 8th and 9th innings, one each on Husker relievers Corbin Hawkins and Jalen Worthley, thought the run on Hawkins was unearned.
The final blast for Nebraska happened in the bottom of the 8th, as Max Anderson hit his 16th home run on the season, taking back the lead from Brice Matthews in the race between the two All American candidates. The 2 run shot was Anderson’s 3rd of his bounce back weekend, and gave Nebraska 11 runs, and the eventual 11-5 victory.
Mad Max. pic.twitter.com/hcZpWuYE1U— Nebraska Baseball (@Husker_Baseball) April 30, 2023
Nebraska next hosts North Dakota State to wrap up their 2 game series on Wednesday, May 3rd at 6:05 pm. Then the Huskers go on the road for their biggest remaining series, at the 1st place in the Big Ten Maryland Terrapins, starting on Friday May 5th.