Nebraska baseball goes cold in 6-1 loss to Michigan, losing the series
After two very competitive games to start the Nebraska vs. Michigan series, the Huskers went cold in the third game to lose 6-1 and drop their first Big Ten series of the season.
Nebraska had an opportunity to set the tone in the bottom of the first after right-handed pitcher Dawson McCarville and his defense didn't up a run in the top of the first.
Third-baseman Max Anderson reached first base on a fielder's choice, which was a failed attempt at a double-play on Michigan's end. Catcher Griffin Everitt was the fourth man up to the plate but struck out looking. Right-fielder Garrett Anglim earned the second walk of the inning to load the bases. Designed hitter Josh Caron struck out, squandering Nebraska chances.
McCarville took a while to settle down as he gave up one hit in the first and two runs on two hits in the second. He advanced first-baseman Ted Burton by hitting him with a pitch and then walked second-baseman Alex Fed Je-Johnson later in the second inning.
In the third, McCarville allowed two more hits and one run as third-baseman Matt Frey rocketed a pitch into right-center for a home run to give the Wolverines a 3-0 advantage. Frey hit three homers in the series against the Huskers.
Anderson responded with his first home run of the season as he sent one to right field with two outs to close Michigan's lead to 3-1.
McCarville settled down and sat down nine consecutive batters from the fourth to the first out in the sixth inning. After walking his second batter of the game, righty CJ Hood took the mound for the final two outs of the sixth inning.
The Huskers went through four more pitchers with RHP Mason Ornelas taking the bulk of the load with 49 pitches in 2.1 innings. Lefty Chandler Benson and Righty Tyler Martin each faced one batter and RHP Corbin Hawkins finished out the game.
On offense, the Huskers hit four of their six hits with two outs but couldn't string them together to move players around the bases.
Anderson's homer in the third came with two outs. Left-fielder Cam Chick hit a single in the fifth and seventh but was stranded both times. First-baseman Jack Steil doubled to center field in the bottom of the fourth.
Michigan scored again in the top of the seventh as designated-hitter Jordon Rogers started off the inning with a single. Fed Je-Johnson was called out on a batter's interference and then the pitching got worse.
Martin took over for Hood and hit right-fielder Clark Elliott with a pitch. Ornelas then took the mound and walked center-fielder Joe Stewart to load the bases. Frey hit a grounder to second for an RBI but was gunned down for the second out of the inning. Elliott stole home on a wild pitch and Michigan went up 5-1.
The Wolverines put the final nail in Nebraska's coffin as they scored one final run in the top of the ninth as Frey hit in Elliott on a single through the right side.
Second-baseman Core Jackson tried to coax his team into a scoring run by starting off the bottom of the ninth with a single to right field. But just like the entire game, Nebraska's offense couldn't put together any hits and the next three batters were sat down to end the game.
Almost turned the corner
Head Coach Will Bolt said after Sunday's game that he thought Nebraska could find some footing and turn the corner against Michigan to take the series. He said he felt good about what they showed in the previous two games.
But just went things could be looking up, the Husker's bats got stuck in the mud and they couldn't get around the corner.
Bolt said the only thing Nebraska has been consistent about this season is being inconsistent.
Consistency is key in baseball with a long season still ahead of NU and a chance to still turn the corner, but it seems to be getting further and further away.
Pitching, pitching, pitching
McCarville eventually sharped up and settled down to give Nebraska a shot however, the bats went cold.
Nebraska has struggled all season with the pitchers outside of their starters and even the starters at some points. The Huskers need to find some arms they can rely on to step up and throw some solid innings. Having two pitchers face one batter each is definitely not ideal.
The Huskers have made it a habit to give up runs late in the game and squander away victories or chances to win. Nebraska is still in desperate search of a reliable closer and needs one fast.
The Huskers travel to Omaha for a midweek game against Creighton at Charles Schwab Field. Nebraska hopes to get some momentum before traveling to take on Ohio State for a weekend series.