“Our dudes played like dudes.” For those of you that don’t speak ‘Coach Bolt’, that means the best players on Nebraska came through when the team needed them on this exceptionally windy night in Manhattan. What looked to be a launch pad in batting practice, with the wind blowing out to left center, shifted to a pitchers dream as the wind switched to blowing straight in from left field.
The Nebraska pitching staff was taking full advantage of the switch, as the seemed to be pitching to the 3rd base side of the plate to get Kansas State hitters to try and put the ball down that LF line. And it worked. It was an up and down start from freshman Caleb Clark, who allowed 1 run in 2 innings of work with 47 pitches, but the Wildcats stranded 5 baserunners in those innings which could have changed the outlook of this game.
After Clark, the Husker bullpen came in and shut down the Wildcats. Corbin Hawkins, the Big Red’s sidewinder picked up the win going 1.2 innings, while allowing only 1 hit. Will Walsh, the presumptive new Sunday pitcher came in and picked up 4 outs on only 12 pitches. Jake Bunz looked like his old self in 1 inning of relief, but got off to a bad start in his 2nd inning, walking his first batter before going down 2-0 in the count on Kansas State’s best hitter.
It was at that point that Will Bolt decided to make a switch mid at-bat. He went to Shay Schanaman and all he did was climb back to strike out the batter, go 1-2-3 to strand the runner, and eventually pick up the 3 inning save, his 3rd of the season. Schanaman has been lights out since he was part of the group of Huskers that suffered from an illness the week of the Nicholls series. He has not allowed a run in his last 9 innings, spanning 5 outings, striking out 13 batters while only walking 1 over that same stretch.
On offense, Nebraska got the scoring started in the 2nd inning, as Gabe Swansen and Josh Caron were both hit by pitches. After advancing on a passed ball, Swansen was brought in on a Garrett Anglim sacrifice fly. Anglim was making his first start, as the DH, since March 5th when he pulled his hamstring against Ole Miss. Cole Evans then singled to bring in Caron. Kansas St then added a run of their own to make it a 2-1 game after 2 innings.
With the wind and the pitching staffs going strong, it took until the 7th for the Cornhuskers to add to their lead. Anglim, bad hamstring and all, legged out an infield single, before Luke Sartori came in to pinch run. Wildcat reliever Blake Corsentino then hit Cole Evans. Nebraska loaded the bases on a fielders choice on a Casey Burnham bunt. The Wildcat catcher tried to throw out the lead runner at 3B, but the third-baseman missed the base with his foot while backpedaling.
This all set the stage for Husker short stop Brice Matthews. Matthews, who had already extended his hit streak to 12 games earlier in the game, got down in the count 0-2 before drilling a fastball down the left field line for a 2 RBI double. That extended the leadoff-hitter’s team leading, and second in the Big Ten conference, RBI total to 41. 4-1 Huskers.
14 makes it 4-1. pic.twitter.com/CEHVKgmn8l— Nebraska Baseball (@Husker_Baseball) April 5, 2023
Nebraska added 2 more insurance runs in the 9th. The first on a Max Anderson solo home run, his team leading 9th on the year. Like most of them, he took it opposite field. (Check out the flags in the twitter clip below to see just what I was talking about with the wind.) Later, Ben Columbus added his 4th double of the year, and was brought in on a Josh Caron single, giving us what would be the final score of 6-1.
.@maxanderson62_'s got that dog in him.— Nebraska Baseball (@Husker_Baseball) April 5, 2023
Big Red lead 5-1 in the 9th inning. pic.twitter.com/SO71z5qUUn
The Cornhuskers will head up to Ann Arbor next to take on the Michigan. The Wolverines are 16-12 overall, and 5-1 in Big Ten play, with a sweep over Penn State, and a 2-1 series win over Illinois. Game 1 will be Friday, April 7th, and can be seen on BTN.
Reliever C.J. Hood traveled with the team and is close to making his return sometime in the next week or two.