A long night at Charles Schwab Field for both the Huskers and Bluejays (and a small warmup for baseball writers attending the Big Ten Tournament) started with the final two and a half innings of the game that was suspended due to lightning from April 18th, before the regularly scheduled game between the two teams took place.
The resumed game started in a 4-4 tie, with the bases full of Huskers in the bottom of the 7th with no outs. Gabe Swansen was able to hit a sacrifice fly to bring in one run, but a double play got the Bluejays out of the huge jam, exactly what they were hoping for when they walked off the field completely when Nebraska had all the momentum on the previous evening.
Creighton used that momentum on the offensive end, using a hit-by-pitch followed up by back to back doubles off of Shay Schanaman to snatch the lead right back from the Huskers. Will Walsh came in and got the Huskers out of the jam, and Nebraska was able to get the tying run to third base in the bottom of the 8th with 2 outs, but could not complete the comeback, losing 6-5.
It would be easy to see a team coming off the loss in a short game, with the starting advantage the Huskers had and have that carry over to the next game, but Brice Matthews showed right away that he wouldn’t let that happen. Matthews worked a full count and then absolutely obliterated a ball over the Creighton dugout to give the Big Red the immediate 1-0 lead. That tied him with Max Anderson for the team lead with 19 home runs on the season. (The two are also tied with the best seasons by Alex Gordon and Darin Erstad for 9th place on the single season home run list. Heard of those guys?)
Creighton answered right back, again using 2 doubles, and then an RBI single to plate 2 runs, and taking a 2-1 lead after 1 inning of play.
Nebraska kept the scoring going, as Griffin Everitt singled up the middle, stole second, and advanced to third on a double play. He was brought in as Matthews hit a shot off the pitchers leg, which bounced right to the short stop, but the speedy Matthews was able to beat out the throw, and tie the game, 2-2.
The tie would be short lived, as Creighton led off the bottom of the inning with a solo home run, and a 3-2 lead. A double by the next batter spelled the end for Husker starter Michael Garza, as Kyle Perry took over on the mound. Perry was coming off a few rough outings, but was stellar tonight. He pitched 4.1 innings, and allowed one run, as he finally wore out in the 6th, having not pitched that many innings in a long while, March 4, 2022 to be exact.
When Perry left the game in the 6th, Nebraska had already taken back the lead. Efry Cervantes used a productive out to tie the game at 3-3 in the 5th. The 6th is where the Husker poured it on.
A leadoff double by catcher Ben Columbus was followed up by a sacrifice bunt attempt by third baseman Dylan Carey. The throw from the pitcher, however, sailed way over the head of the first baseman. Columbus scored easy, and Carey sped over to second base. Later in the inning, Casey Burnham walked to put two runners on for Max Anderson. Anderson took an 1-0 fastball and hit it 374 feet right at the 375 ft sign in the outfield. The ball bounced off the wall for a 2 RBI double, and a 6-3 lead.
Following the Creighton run in the bottom of the 6th off of Corbin Hawkins, but credited to Perry, Nebraska got a run back, with Ben Columbus hitting his second double of the night, and bringing in Efry Cervantes for the 7-4 lead.
Creighton threatened in the bottom of the 7th, with back to back singles with no outs. But a sharp hit ball to Dylan Carey had him rush to his base, throw to Anderson covering second for out number two, and Anderson threw wide of first, trying to complete the triple play. Cervantes ran to grab the ball, noticed the runner had taken off to second base, and threw a strike to Anderson. 1 pitch, 3 outs. Not technically a triple play in the scorebook, but didn’t matter in the first base dugout or the stands. The place went wild!
Creighton wouldn’t mount a threat after that, and Nebraska would salvage a game in the series, but more importantly, seem to have some internal momentum with the comeback during the back and forth game in front of a crowd of over 5,100.
Nebraska is now done with the mid-week games and has 2 Big Ten series remaining, hosting Penn State this weekend, then traveling to Purdue to finish the regular season the following week.
Corn Nation Tailgate
As mentioned on Jon and Todd’s Monday Night Therapy, a few of us at Corn Nation will be tailgating prior to Saturday’s Penn State game. So come join Jon Johnston, Todd Wolverton and the rest of us under the Cobby flag from 4-6pm. Look for more details in the coming days.