20 hits, four home runs lifts Nebraska baseball to 19-7 victory
baseball Edit

20 hits, four home runs lift Nebraska baseball to 19-7 victory

Leighton Banjoff was one of three Huskers to hit a leadoff home run on Sunday. (Nebraska Athletic Communications)
Leighton Banjoff was one of three Huskers to hit a leadoff home run on Sunday. (Nebraska Athletic Communications)

Nebraska baseball had itself a hit parade on Sunday afternoon. An offense that had been anemic throughout the weekend came alive to help end a five-game Big Ten losing streak. The Huskers (15-23) tallied 20 hits and crushed a season-high four home runs in a 19-7 victory over Indiana (16-22).

Following a disappointing Saturday showing, Nebraska skipper Will Bolt made some major changes to the Husker lineup. Max Anderson replaced Jack Steil at first base and Efry Cervantes moved from the middle infield to third base. The batting order saw shakeups too as Gabe Swansen was inserted as the designated hitter.

As the game went on, those changes made some major positive results.

Nebraska got on the board first after a groundout RBI from Griffin Everitt scored Garrett Anglim from third. The Huskers added two more runs in the third as Everitt delivered on a RBI single and Anderson grounded out to make it 3-0. Hoosier reliever Luke Hayden hurled three wild pitches and allowed three hits in the inning.

With two outs, Nebraska doubled its runs in the fourth. The Huskers brought in a run for Everitt's third RBI on a single and Leighton Banjoff scored two on a single. Indiana made it a game in the fourth with four hits and four runs capped by Max Johnson's first career RBI double.

The Nebraska lead had been cut to 6-4 and the Huskers counterpunched in a way they hadn't all weekend. Nebraska scored two in the fifth capped by Gabe Swansen's leadoff homer, the first home run of his career. The sixth inning began with a Banjoff bomb and Nebraska batted around plating five runs on five hits.

Brice Matthews annihilated the third straight leadoff homer to grow the lead to 14-5 in the seventh. The Huskers batted around for the second time in the eighth inning. Nebraska added four runs in the frame on just one hit before Indiana got two back in the home half making it 18-7.

In the ninth, the Huskers notched their 20th hit of the ballgame and Swansen knocked in his third RBI of the game. Braxton Bragg closed it down facing four batters in the Hoosier half of the inning. Nebraska scored in every inning except the second and outscored Indiana 13-3 after the Hoosiers came within 6-4.

"We were able to flush yesterday's garbage performance and we did something about it."
— Nebraska head coach Will Bolt

Weird Numbers

There are all sorts of oddities up and down the box score.

The game lasted 3:54 and featured over 100 at-bats. Every Husker with two or more at-bats had multiple hits except Efry Cervantes who was 1-4. 11 different Huskers scored a run. Cam Chick and Griffin Everitt each had four RBIs and three other Nebraska batters had multiple RBIs. Multiple Huskers had seven plate appearances. Core Jackson was hit three times in a row.

The exit velocity on Brice Matthews home run was 107 mph and it traveled 450 feet. Nebraska left 17 runners on base and combined with Indiana there were 27 runners left for the game. The Huskers had 10 two-out hits, hit .370 with runners on and .400 with runners in scoring position.

Indiana's bullpen

Today's showing made it abundantly clear why Nebraska wanted to get into the Indiana bullpen.

It was a bullpen day from the start for the Hoosiers. The game began with an opener in Grant Holderfield making his second appearance of the weekend. The freshman gave up two earned runs in two innings on Friday night and did the same Sunday afternoon.

The Hoosiers had to use four more pitchers to get through the game and none lasted longer than two innings. All but one gave up more than four earned runs. The worst of which was Ryan Kraft who surrendered seven earned runs in just 1.2 innings.

All of this underscores the importance of Nebraska's offensive struggles early in the previous two contests. The Huskers outscored the Hoosiers 6-4 in the first four innings after falling behind by a combined margin of 13-1 in the first two games.

The Indiana pitching staff has the worst ERA in the Big Ten. If Nebraska had been able to get to the Hoosier starters earlier, the weekend may have turned out differently.

What's next

Nebraska heads back to Lincoln for the next five games starting with Kansas State on Tuesday night. The Huskers will meet the Omaha Mavericks on Wednesday before hosting the red hot Iowa Hawkeyes next weekend. Tuesday's game with the Wildcats can be streamed on BTN+ and heard on the Huskers Radio Network.