Husker baseball holds on in gritty win against Omaha to even series
Nebraska baseball (5-9) knocks off Omaha thanks to a walk-off single by Griffin Everitt to win the game 6-5 after losing to the Mavericks the previous day at Tal Anderson Field in Omaha.
Everitt was the Huskers' hero as he hit two home runs, both to the right-field bullpen, and drilled the game-winning run to the center-field fence.
RHP Shay Schanaman started off slow after being named the Big Ten Pitcher of the Week for the previous week where he pitched a complete-game shutout against Northwestern State.
To begin the game, Schanaman walked three consecutive Mavericks with two outs to load the bases. Second-baseman Brice Matthews helped him out as he grounded out Grant Goldston for the third out.
The Huskers batters warmed up in the first after Leighton Banjoff and Core Jackson started the game with back-to-back outs. Max Anderson singled to center and Everitt hit a double to right field. But Matthews left Anderson and Everitt stranded as he struck out swinging.
Jackson was charged with a throwing error at shortstop, allowing the Mavericks to get their leadoff hitter, Devin Hurdle, on base in the top of the 2nd. A single got Hurdle to second and Jack Lombardi's bunt advanced Hurdle to third. Schanaman came in clutch as he punched out the next two batters.
Omaha's Mike Boeve crushed the first homer of the day out of the right side of the park to give the Mavericks the lead in the top of the third. Schanaman and his defense sat down the next three batters.
In the top of the fourth, the Mavericks capitalized on a fielding error by Banjoff after a ball hit by Hurdle popped out of his glove in left-center field. Lombardi batted in Hurdle with a single through the right side.
Everitt sparked the Huskers with his first homer of the game to the right-field bullpen in the bottom of the sixth. Matthews doubled to left, stole third base and Garrett Anglim doubled to left as Matthews touched home plate.
Then Anglim was caught stealing, Cam Chick was walked and Colby Gomes was grounded out to third. Huskers tied it up 2-2.
Omaha responded by stealing home on a wild pitch in the top of the 7th inning after RHP Mason Ornelas was subbed in to pitch for Schanaman, who pitched six innings with three hits, two runs and six strikeouts.
In the bottom of the 7th, Efry Cervantes started off the inning with his first home run as a Husker, another bomb to right field. RHP Jarrett Blunt took the mound releving starting pitcher Mark Timmins, who pitched six innings, with six hits, two runs, five strikeouts.
Everitt hit his second homer with Banjoff on base after being walked. Matthews and Anglim kept the bats hot with back-to-back singles but Chick went cold as he struck out swinging for the third out.
LHP Emmett Olson came in for the Huskers after Ornelas gave up two runs in the seventh inning. Ornelas walked the leadoff batter in the top of the eighth and Goldston singled up the middle to get Satisky to third. Hurdle hit a sacrifice fly to right field to punch in Eddie Satisky, 5-4 Nebraska.
Omaha's RHP Tanner Howe sat down three consecutive Huskers in the bottom of the 8th. Nebraska had a shot to win it when Olson had two strikes on Noah Greise with two outs but Greise hit a single and then Satisky also singled with two strikes and a runner scored, tying it at 5.
Olson walked Goldston and then RHP Braxton Bragg came in, threw one pitch that was hit to shortstop and grounded out the lead runner, Goldston, for the final out.
With the game on the line, Jackson flied out to center but Anderson got his second hit of the day as he doubled to left field. Everitt punched in the walk-off run as he crushed a ball to the center-field fence.
Nebraska celebrated their win in their season-opener with a Gatorade bath for Everitt.
Griffin Everitt MVP
Catcher and team captain Griffin Everitt batted in four runs and hit two home runs in the home opener in Haymarket Park.
He crushed two balls to the right-field bullpen and gave Nebraska's offense a much-needed spark as they have struggled all season.
Veterans Anderson and Everitt took fate into their own hands by getting hits late in the game to steal the win from Omaha. For the majority of this season, the Huskers have lacked the aggressiveness and toughness needed to win games.
Everitt displayed those traits as he did everything in his power to make sure his team won.
Battled it out
After the game, head coach Will Bolt said winning this way would serve the Huskers well. He said this team proved to themselves they could grind out a game and come out on the other side victorious.
Nebraska desperately needs to strive together some wins with a two-game series against New Mexico State coming up on Tuesday. This game could help them create momentum and motivation to clear their struggles and get back to the team many picked to win the Big Ten.
The New Mexico State Aggies come to Haymarket Park for a midweek two-game series against the Huskers. Tuesday's game begins at 6:35 p.m. and Wednesday's first pitch is at 1:35 p.m. at Hawks Field.
Bolt has not announced the starting pitcher for Tuesday's game.
The game can be watched on B1G+ and heard on Huskers Radio Network.