Nebraska baseball stalls in extra innings, drop series to Iowa 2-1
Husker baseball (18-25, 6-9) came back in the sixth inning to tie Iowa (26-14, 10-5) at 3-3 but couldn't get more runs as they were retired nine consecutive times to go into extra innings.
However, Nebraska's defense dulled after being extremely sharp with relief pitcher Braxton Bragg on the mound.
In the ninth inning, pinch hitter Anthony Mangano started the avalanche as he hit a leadoff single to center field. After shortstop Michael Seegers singled right after him, the pair advanced to second and third on a wild pitch by Bragg. First-baseman Peyton Williams was then intentionally walked.
Designated hitter Keaton Anthony, potentially the MVP of the game for Iowa, hit a sacrifice fly to center field, allowing Mangano to score and go up 4-3.
Nebraska LHP Tyler Martin came in for Bragg to finish out the game. Right fielder Will Mulflur was hit by a pitch while trying to bunt to load the bases. Then, second-baseman Izaya Fullard batted in Seegers with a single to left field to increase Iowa’s lead to 5-3. The Huskers then had back-to-back outs on a pop fly and catching a foul ball.
The top of Nebraska’s lineup started the bottom of the tenth inning. Center fielder Cam Chick singled to right field and caused Iowa to pull right-handed pitcher Dylan Nedved and put in left-handed pitcher Ben Beutel to close the game.
Right-fielder Garrett Anglim struck out swinging and Everitt hit a ground ball that was turned into a double play as he and Chick were called out to end the game.
Iowa started the game with vengeance as they lost the first game of the doubleheader. Anthony, the third batter, launched a homer to right-center field with two outs in the first. Nebraska grounded out the next batter to end the inning down one.
Chick singled through the left side to start of the game for the Huskers. Anglim, who hit three home runs in the first game of the day, singled on the opposite side and advanced to second on a fielding error by center-fielder Kyle Huckstorf. Chick scored Nebraska's first run after advancing from the error.
Iowa right-handed pitcher Ty Langenberg saw four Husker batters, walked one, struck out two and his team helped grounded out another. Husker right-handed pitcher Koty Frank retired three Hawkeyes in the second.
In the third inning, Iowa hit its third home run of the day as Williams crushed a ball 487 feet into center field. The ball had an exit velocity of 111 mph. The Hawkeyes went up 3-1 and didn't score until the 10th inning.
Bragg came in for Frank, who had four hits, three runs, six strikeouts and two home runs in four innings. He gave up his first hit of the game to the second batter but didn't allow another one until the top of the ninth.
The Husker offense tried to go to work as its defense and Bragg held the Hawkeyes at three runs.
Chick doubled down the right-field line in the bottom of the fifth with two out but was stranded on base as Anglim hit a ball into the pitcher's legs for an easy ground out.
In the bottom of the sixth, Nebraska scored two runs as third-baseman Max Anderson scored as second-baseman Core Jackson was walked to load the bases. Left-fielder Leighton Banjoff, who singled just as Anderson did to get on base, scores on a fielder's choice to get Jackson out at second.
Neither team could get anything going offensively until Iowa took over in the ninth.
Nebraska played three hard foughten games against Iowa. NU lost the first game 1-0, dominated in the second 12-1 and fought hard in the third game.
Head coach Will Bolt said he was proud of how hard the team battled and said if they continue to fight like they did this weekend, they'll start winning some more games.
"We poured it all out there today," Bolt said. "We competed our tails off."
"My message to the team was they gave every other everything they've got and that's all we're ever going to ask: play a certain brand of baseball, compete, don't back down, don't ask questions, don't make excuses," he said.
Bragg and Olsen stepping up
Both Braxton Bragg and Emmett Olsen have taken on a role different than how they and their coaches expected at the beginning of the season.
Olsen started Nebraska's first game of the day, pitching all seven innings and allowing four hits and one run.
While he didn't start, Bragg pitched 5.1 innings for Nebraska after Frank was pulled.
"You couldn't have asked for more in that situation than what he game us," Bolt said. "He gave us a shot to win."
With Nebraska's bullpen looking very different than it did during the off-season, pitchers like Olsen and Bragg have been given a chance to step up and they've done it.