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Nebraska Baseball: Michigan Takes Game Two 8-6

The rubber match is early tomorrow to decide the series!

Nebraska Athletic Department

Coming off an extra inning win over the Wolverines last night, Nebraska looked to win the series on a beautiful day in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The only thing missing was the smell of fresh-cut grass as Michigan plays on a totally plastic field.

None the less, it’s spring and it’s Big Ten baseball!

Nebraska got off to a quick start for the second day in the row plating two runs as Michigan starter Chase Allen really struggled to find the strike zone. His problems were multiplied as the home plate umpire had a very tight zone. Both Brice Matthews and Casey Burnham worked walks off the big right-hander and eventually scored on a passed ball and a sacrifice fly. Going to the bottom of the first, the Cornhuskers were up 2-0 without a hit.

Unfortunately for Nebraska, Jace Kaminska was plagued by the same problems Allen faced. Like his opponent, he was all over the place, everywhere but in the strike zone. He walked lead-off hitter Cody Jefferis and on the next pitch hit Ted Burton. After a strikeout, designated hitter Joe Longo drove both runners in on a single. With a 2-2 tie after one inning, it appeared that this might be a wild day.

The difference in the game took place in the second inning. Allen continued to struggle and loaded the bases with Cornhuskers but was able to induce Max Anderson into a dribbler to the first baseman for the third out. Unfortunately, Kaminska was not able to do the same in the bottom of the inning as he continued to really struggle with his fastball and consistently fell behind in counts, yet staying almost exclusively with that pitch.

Jake Marti led off with a single and was sacrificed to second with a bunt by catcher Gabe Sotres. Kaminska then walked Jefferis again. Burton singled to drive in Marti. Up came left-handed hitting reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Week Jonathan Kim who ripped a triple, driving in two more runs. He scored on a wild pitch to Longo.

Kaminska was working from behind the count throughout and was pulled by Coach Will Bolt after he got Longo to fly out to Anderson. On came Jackson Brockett who go the Cornhuskers out of the inning. When the dust cleared, Michigan was up 6-2, though it could have been worse had Michigan hitters been more disciplined at the plate and not chased so many pitches out of the strike zone.

Nebraska started hitting Allen and putting runners on base, but struggled to come up with a timely hit to score them.

Max Anderson hit a solo home run leading off the fifth to make it 6-3 Wolverines, yet the Cornhuskers left two runners on base after that.

Michigan scored a run in the bottom of the sixth and another in the seventh to go up 8-4, but in the 8th, Nebraska showed a spark that gave some hope for a late inning comeback. Cole Evans and Brice Matthews started the inning with walks. After Burnham grounded out to second, Max Anderson put a charge in one to rightfield that was caught up against the wall by Joey Velazquez, missing a three-run dinger by a couple of feet.

Evans scored on the sacrifice. Nebraska was not done as after that pinch hitter Charlie Fischer singled in Matthews, Ben Columbus walked and Josh Caron was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs. Up came Garrett Anglim who had two hits on the day and three very hard-hit balls. However, it was not to be as Anglim struck out on a wicked breaking pitch to end the inning and the Nebraska threat.

After Kyle Perry struck out two in the bottom of the eighth, Nebraska went down in order in the top of the ninth to end the ballgame and an 8-6 Wolverine victory.

Saturday’s game featured two pitches who were very sharp and battled against each other late into the game. Today’s game was the opposite as both starters struggled to find their groove. In addition, Nebraska fell back into that trap of getting runners on but not finding a way to get them home.

Positives to take away is that Nebraska’s bullpen continued to do well and Garrett Anglim seems to be getting back to where he can once again be a position player.

The two teams face off tomorrow, Easter Sunday, at 1:00 to settle the series.

Will Walsh will make his first weekend start against a pitcher to be determined for the Wolverines.