Bloomington, Ind. –(NU Athletics May 21)– The Nebraska baseball team kicked off its four-game trip to Bart Kaufman Field with a 8-5 win over the #25 Indiana Hoosiers on Friday night in front of a nationwide audience on BTN. The Huskers remain in first place in the Big Ten and extended their lead over both the Hoosiers and Michigan Wolverines, as Michigan dropped its series opener in extra inning to Maryland.
Freshman Max Anderson produced his third-straight game with at least three hits, as he went 3-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs. Fellow freshman Brice Matthews drove in three runs with a double and Spencer Schwellenbach added his sixth home run of the season. Schwellenbach also closed the game with a perfect ninth inning to earn his sixth save of the season.
Cade Povich lasted just 4.0 innings, but was backed up by his bullpen. Schwellenbach, Koty Frank and Jake Bunz combined for 5.0 innings of one-run relief, and the trio allowed just three hits while striking out eight.
Following a quiet first inning, both offenses found a rhythm in the second and combined for seven runs. The Huskers loaded the bases following a one-out walk to Leighton Banjoff and Matthews came through with a bases-clearing double down the third-base line. Three pitches later Griffin Everitt lined a double to left, scoring Matthews to give the Huskers a 4-0 lead. Povich struck out Cole Barr to start the bottom of the second but then Grant Richardson got IU on the board with a solo home run. Povich then gave up a single and hit a batter before getting a pop to put two outs on the board and was in position to get out of the innings, but back-to-back RBI singles made it a 4-3 Husker lead after two innings.
Nebraska’s offense got a pair of runs back in the third when Anderson hit a two-run homer to center, as an earlier walk to Luke Roskam came back to hurt the Hoosiers. The Huskers tacked on another run in the top of the fourth when Matthews scored on a double from Joe Acker. Indiana answered with a run of its own in the bottom of the frame, as Jeremy Houston delivered a two-out RBI single.
With the Huskers leading 7-4 after four, neither team scored in the fifth or sixth. The Hoosiers had runners on first and third with no outs in the sixth, but Frank dug in and stranded both runners with a pop up, strikeout and a groundout.
The Hoosiers were able to trim Nebraska’s lead to a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh when Barr worked a two-out walk and then scored on a triple from Richardson. Neither team scored in the eighth and then the Huskers added some insurance in the ninth. Schwellenbach led off and got ahead 2-0 before lining a pitch over the left-field fence for a solo home run, putting Nebraska back up three runs, 8-5. Schwellenbach then took the mound and the ninth and retired the top of IU’s lineup in order to secure the win.
The Huskers will be back at Bart Kaufman Field for a pair of games tomorrow. Nebraska takes on Ohio State at Noon (CT) before seeing the Hoosiers at 5:30 PM on ESPNU.