Fayetteville, Ark. –(NU Athletics)– Trailing 4-0 after the third inning, the Nebraska baseball team rallied for a 8-6 win over the Northeastern Huskies in the first round of the NCAA Fayetteville Regional on Friday night at Baum-Walker Stadium. The Huskers now play the No. 1 overall seed Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday night at 8 PM.
The Huskers handed the Huskies just their third loss of the year when they score first. Northeastern entered the game with a 28-2 record when scoring the game’s first run.
Nebraska’s offense got rolling in the fourth on a two-out, three-run home run from Cam Chick. The Huskers then scored one in the fifth, three in the sixth and one more in the seventh.
With Nebraska’s offense going to work, reliever Koty Frank kept the Huskies off the board. Frank improved to 3-0 with the win and didn’t allow a hit over 3.2 innings. The Tushka, Okla., native retired the first 11 Huskies he faced. Spencer Schwellenbach closed out the game and earned his 10th save of the season with 1.2 inning of one-hit shutout relief.
All nine Husker starters notched a hit in the win, including a pair of hits each from Joe Acker, Mojo Hagge and Griffin Everitt.
Cade Povich made his 14th start of the year and the first-team All-Big Ten pick was tagged for four runs on eight hits over 3.1 innings. It was his second-shortest start of the season, with the shortest a 3.0-inning against Purdue in the season opener.
Sebastian Keane gave the Huskies 4.0 inning in his 12th start of the season. The freshman right hander allowed three runs on four hits and one walk, while striking out four.
Northeastern took 1-0 lead in the top of the second on a solo home run from Danny Crossen, his first home run of the season. Ben Malgeri followed with a double to right field and Povich was in a jam with no out. The lefty responded with his third strikeout of the game and then got an unconventional double play to end the inning. JP Olson flew out to center and Malgeri tried to advance to third, but was cut down on the relay from Jaxon Hallmark-to-Schwellenbach-to-Max Anderson.
Povich retired the leadoff hitter in the third, but then gave up three straight hits, including a two-RBI single from Jared Dupere. Scott Holzwasser then worked a walk before Povich uncorked a wild pitch that ricocheted all the way to the Husker dugout on the third base side and both runners took two bases, scoring Dupere. Crossen then reached on an error, but Povich got the out back by picking off Crossen. Malgeri grounded out to end the frame, but not before the Huskies had pushed their lead to 4-0.
Keane retired seven straight to start the game before Hagge notched Nebraska’s first hit with a one-out single in the bottom of the third. Everitt followed with a single and the Huskers had two on and one down for the top of the order. Keane struck out Acker for the second time and Jaxon Hallmark flew out to the left-field warning track to end the third.
Ian Fair opened the fourth with a single, Olson reached on a fielder’s choice and Spenser Smith beat out and infield bunt to put two runners on with one out. The Huskers went to Frank and the right-handed reliever needed to get two pitches to get out of the frame with a fly out and ground out.
Nebraska’s offense then got the Huskers back in the game on one swing from Chick. Keane retired the first two Husker batters bottom of the fourth before Anderson reached on a fielder’s choice and Brice Matthews worked a walk. Chick stepped in and blasted a 2-0 offering to right field for a three-run homer, cutting Northeastern’s lead to 4-3. Nebraska then had the tying run in scoring position after Hagge was hit-by-pitch and stole second, but Keane struck out Everitt to end the inning.
Frank put down the Huskies in order in the top of the fifth and then the Husker offense tied the game. Northeastern brought in Wyatt Scotti to face the top of the lineup and he got a fly out from Acker to start the frame. Hallmark then lined 0-1 pitch into the right-field gap for his third triple of the season. The hustle paid off, as Schwellenbach followed with a sacrifice fly to right field, tying the game 4-4. Scotti struck out Luke Roskam to finish the fifth.
Frank notched another 1-2-3 inning in the top of the sixth and the Husker offense scored three runs to give him a lead 7-4. Matthews got the offense started with a one-out single and Chick followed with a walk. Hagge executed a hit-and-run, scoring Matthews to give NU its first lead at 5-4. Scotti then gifted Nebraska a run with a balk before he got a groundout to put two outs on the board. The lineup rolled over and Acker delivered a RBI single that scored Hagge. Hallmark stepped in and nearly hit a two-run homer, but right-fielder Jeff Costello secured the third out of the inning at the wall.
Following another perfect inning from Frank in the top of the seventh the Huskers tacked on another run in the bottom of the frame. Roskam and Anderson strung together consecutive one-out singles to put runners on the corners for Matthews. Anderson tried to steal second and was thrown out, but on the play Roskam took home and the Husker lead grew to 8-4.
After taking the mound in the fourth, Frank retired 11 straight before issuing a leadoff walk to Dupere in the eighth and then he walked Holzwasser. Nebraska turned the ball over to Jake Bunz, who promptly hit Crossen to load the bases with no out. Bunz responded with a strikeout, but then gave up a two-RBI single to Fair, cutting Nebraska’s lead to 8-6. With the tying runs on base, the Huskers brought in Schwellenbach and he got a ground-ball out, but then hit Smith to reload the bases. The lineup rolled over and Schwellenbach induced a 3-1 groundout off the bat of Costello leave the bases full.
Max Viera start the ninth with a single, bringing the tying run to the plate. Schwellenbach game back with a three-pitch strikeout and got a pop out, but then hit Crossen to put the tying runs on base. Three pitches later he got a game-ending 1-3 groundout off the bat of Malgeri.
The Huskers and Razorbacks meet Saturday night at 8 PM on ESPN 3.