After a 1 hour weather delay, due to a passing storm, Nebraska and Penn State took the field on what ended up being a perfect night for baseball. The usual Haymarket Park swirling winds were almost nonexistent, the temperature was perfect for early summer in Nebraska, and the Huskers were ready to battle.
Both teams came out swinging early, the only problem was both starting pitchers were mixing their pitches perfectly, so there were a lot of swings and misses. It took until the 3rd inning for someone to crack the scoreboard, and boy did he. Brice Matthews took the first pitch he saw in the 3rd inning and sent it well over the left field wall, to where the flag poles were slowly flapping in the gentle breeze. 2-0 Huskers.
Nebraska starter Emmett Olson used a couple of double plays to face the minimum batters in the first 4 innings. The Husker defense turned in numerous spectacular plays on the night and didn’t commit an error. This gave Olson the confidence to pound the zone. That did allow Penn State to jump on some early fastballs and actually tie the game using 2 solo home runs in the 5th. The 2-2 tie wouldn’t last long.
The Penn State defense was not as solid on the night, and Nebraska took advantage. Though he’s only credited with 2, the first baseman for the Nittany Lions was responsible for 3 errors on the night, 2 of which started big rally’s by the Nebraska offense. In fact, 10 unearned runs in all scored on the night.
In the 5th, the Huskers battled in each at bat maybe better than any inning in the entire season. An error, 2 walks, a hit batter, passed ball, and wild pitch combined with 5 hits plated 7 runs for the Huskers. The biggest blow being a 2 RBI triple by freshman third baseman Dylan Carey to open the game up at 8-2. Efry Cervantes bright him in with an RBI double, to finally get the score to 9-2 after 5.
After a Penn State 2 run home run in the 7th, Nebraska responded in a big way yet again. A leadoff walk was followed by bunt singles on back to back pitches by Cole Evans and Dylan Carey. Yet another error brought in a run, then a sac fly made it 11-4. Max Anderson pulled a ball down the left field line for a 2 RBI double. By the time all the smoke cleared, Nebraska was up 15-4.
Emmett Olson exited the game after 7 innings, with 6 Ks and 4 earned runs. Not his best outing, but in line for his first win since April 1st.
Nebraska added 4 runs in the 8th. 1 on a Max Anderson singled and brought in his 4th RBI of the night to lead the Big Red. The exclamation point came one batter later as Gabe Swansen launched a 3 run homer, his 15th home run of the season, 439 feet from home plate. 19-4 Huskers. Penn State would add a run in the top of the 9th to give the game its final score of 19-5.
Anderson, Carey, and Swansen all had big nights, but it was almost a historic one for Brice Matthews. Matthews hit his 20th home run of the season, tying him for 8th all time, and passing names like Gordon and Erstad. He also sit on 19 stolen bases, and was thrown out on his one attempt at becoming the first 20-20 player in program history.
He gets another attempt Saturday as he and the rest of the Huskers take on Penn State back at Haymarket Park at 6:02 pm. Jace Kaminska will take the mound for Nebraska and look to take the series.
We at Corn Nation will be having a tailgate prior to the game. Check out the info here! Though the Cobby flag did not arrive in time. But we will try and have some sort of Cobby flying!