baseball Edit

Huskers win final midweek battle over Oral Roberts

Junior outfielder Leighton Banjoff rounds third base.
Junior outfielder Leighton Banjoff rounds third base. (Nebraska Athletic Communications)

The Nebraska baseball team (21-29, 8-13 Big Ten) caught some offensive fire as the Huskers took down Oral Roberts (33-17) on Tuesday 9-5. Three crooked numbers was enough for the Big Red to outlast the Golden Eagles.

Dawson McCarville was NU's starter on the mound for the night and ORU got the better of him early on. In the top of the first inning with one out, Oral Roberts hit three straight base hits to load the bases. A two-out double cleared the bases and broke the game open.

The Nebraska offense responded quickly in the bottom half of the first frame. Two base hits and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases for the Huskers, and a wild pitch brought in a run. Leighton Banjoff then hit a single that brought home the other two baserunners to tie the game at 3-3.

McCarville put up a couple zeros and gave his offense the chance to pounce in the third inning, which they did. Max Anderson drove in two runs with a base-clearing double in the bottom of the third, and Banjoff drove him in.

The momentum kept rolling into the fourth as Garrett Anglim hit a solo homer and Colby Gomes added another on an RBI single to make it 8-3.

In the top of the sixth inning, McCarville gave up a base hit, followed by a two-run home run that ended his day. The senior grad transfer went five full innings, giving up five runs on eight hits and striking out five.

Following the homer, Chandler Benson took over on the bump and worked three quick outs. He had worked two more outs and left a baserunner on first when Mason Ornelas came in to take his place on the mound. The junior got the Huskers out of the inning with a quick strikeout.

Core Jackson drove in the ninth run for the Big Red in the bottom half of the seventh and the rest was left up to Ornelas. The righty did his job and closed the game, allowing just one more hit.

"I'm proud of the resilience. It wasn't looking good there in the first inning."
— Head coach Will Bolt

Banjoff's hot bat

NU needed a leader from the plate after a tough weekend, and they got that in Leighton Banjoff. The junior went 3-4 from the batter's box and drove in three Nebraska baserunners.

The more important part of his performance was his timeliness.

Banjoff stepped up with two outs and two runner in scoring position in his first at bat. In the bottom of the first inning, after the Golden Eagles had scored three in the top half of the frame, it was a moment for momentum. The junior hit a base hit to right field that cleared the bases and tied things up at three a-piece. Although early in the game, that moment showed to give NU momentum for the remaining eight innings.

Bullpen strength

Dawson McCarville got out to a slow start in this game, giving up three runs on four hits in the first inning. The senior gave four scoreless innings before a two-run homer in the sixth ended his day.

In comes the bullpen.

The pen was huge for the Big Red in this game. Chandler Benson was first out after the home run and struck out three of the six batters he faced. Two of the other three batters the freshman faced were outs, and just one was a hit.

Mason Ornelas also did work as he closed this one out. The junior went two and a third innings, allowing just two baserunners, only one being a hit. In a game where McCarville wasn't on it from the start, the Husker bullpen needed to do what they did.

"It certainly puts the momentum in our dugout."
— Junior Leighton Banjoff

What's next

Nebraska has one final regular season series this weekend against Michigan State. The first game is on Thursday at 6:35 p.m. Friday's game starts at 6:32 p.m. and Saturday will be a 12:05 p.m. first pitch.

All three games can be streamed on B1G+ and Friday is on Nebraska Public Media. They can also all be heard on the Huskers Radio Network.