Husker baseball cruises past Northwestern State in 2nd shutout of weekend
Nebraska baseball (3-7) shutout Northwestern State for the second time in the weekend series. Right-handed pitcher Shay Schanaman spent the entire game at the bump as he threw a career-high nine shutout innings with three hits and eight strikeouts.
After a strange first inning consisting of Schanaman getting called for balking and Luke Jessen getting caught stealing, the Huskers settled in on offense and defense.
Nebraska sat down three consecutive Demon batters in the top of the second and then got to work on offense. Leighton Banjoff hit a single up the middle, Jack Steil reached on a fielder's choice and then Garrett Anglim hit a single to left field for an RBI.
Schanaman and his defense had another three-up, three-down inning but the offense left Brice Matthews on first after a lead-off hit in the third.
Right-handed pitcher Johnathan Harmon had a decent outing and pitched seven innings with six hits, five runs and two outs for the Demons. However, Northwestern State's defense let him down as they had two critical throwing errors to allow three runs in the fifth, as NU went up 4-0.
After another 1-2-3 batters for Schanaman, Nebraska moved their runners around as Banjoff got on base due to a single and Steil and Core Jackson helped him score. Jackson got the RBI as he hit a sacrificial fly ball to left field.
Nebraska's offense stalled out in the seventh as three batters were sat down. However, to finish the eighth, DH Max Anderson sparked NU as he hit a single in the leadoff spot. With Griffin Everitt on base after a fielder's choice that took Anderson out at second, Banjoff came in clutch again and moved Everitt to third on a single to center field.
Steil got the RBI by hitting a sacrificial fly to right field to help Everitt score and the Huskers went up 6-0 in the bottom of the eighth.
Schanaman and the defense closed the game by getting out Daunte Stuart, who hit a single, and Bryce Holmes on a groundout double play. Matthews sealed the deal as he caught a pop up to second for the final out.
Significant pitching improvement
After a rocky start to the season, Nebraska's pitching staff has improved tremendously as they've thrown 26 scoreless innings in the last three games. However, the Huskers collapsed in the ninth against UT Arlington as Colby Gomes came in to close and gave up four runs to lose the game 4-3.
RHP Koty Frank kicked off the series with 6.2 scoreless innings in the first game against Northwestern State and Emmett Olson came in to pitch 2.1 shutout innings. In the second game on Friday, Kyle Perry pitched five scoreless innings and Olson pitched another two before Gomes jugged to the mound.
And of course, Schanaman threw nine scoreless innings on Saturday, becoming the first Husker to throw a complete game shutout since Jake Meyers in 2017 against Western Carolina.
The pitching staff is starting to look up for the Big Red.
Making them pay for E's
Nebraska took full advantage of the throwing errors the Demons made in the fifth inning. Efry Cervantes got on base with a single up the middle and then his teammates moved him home as they hit two balls and forced two errors.
Matthews hit a single but the third-baseman overthrew the first-baseman and Cervantes made his way to third. Next up, Jessen knocked a single through the left. The ball was overthrown into Nebraska's dugout and Matthews took the opportunity to steal home.
Harmon threw a wild pitch and Jessen sprinted home for Nebraska's third run of the inning.
Anderson was walked but Everitt struck out for the fourth time on Friday.
However, the Huskers did a good job of capitalizing on Northwestern State's errors and got three runs on two hits.
Nebraska plays UT Arlington again on Saturday at 2:45 p.m. after seeing their lead slip away in the ninth inning on Friday. Right-handed pitcher Dawson McCarville will get the ball to start.
The game is not streamed on TV but can be heard on Huskers Radio Network and/or on Huskers.com.