HuskerOnline - Nebraska snags Game 1 in 5-3 win over Columbia
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Nebraska snags Game 1 in 5-3 win over Columbia

Nebraska baseball got exactly what it needed on Friday—beautiful weather and a win.

The Huskers (3-7, 0-0 Big Ten) pulled off a 5-3 win over Columbia (0-5, Ivy League) in Game 1 of the four-game series at Hawks Field.

Sophomore Kyle Perry got the start for Nebraska on Friday. He was relieved by junior Max Schreiber in the top of the sixth inning. Junior Paul Tillotson replaced Schreiber in the top of the ninth inning and closed out the afternoon on the mound.

Once again, freshman Leighton Banjoff showed out early for the Huskers. Banjoff homered one over the left field fence in the bottom of the second inning to give NU a 1-0 lead. It was his third home run of the season.

Nebraska extended its lead in the bottom of the third inning. Senior Luke Roskam stepped up to the plate with bases loaded. His two-run RBI single put the Huskers up 3-0.

Sophomore Joshua Solomon kept the Lions in the game with a solo bomb over left field in the top of the fourth inning. Solomon’s RBI single to left field in the top of the sixth inning plated one runner, cutting NU’s lead 3-2.

The Huskers scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to take a 5-2 lead. Columbia looked to capitalize on NU's errors in the top of the eighth inning. A throwing error by the Husker defense resulted in an unearned Lions run. Nebraska led 5-3 headed into the bottom of the eighth inning.

Tillotson finished off the afternoon with a strong defensive performance at the mound to help the Huskers get the win.

Finishing strong

NU has struggled the last couple of weeks with finishing, especially from the bullpen and at bat. That wasn’t the case on Friday.

Columbia had an opportunity in the top of the eighth inning to go on a run. A Lion’s single to left field put runners on the corners. Schreiber’s wild pitch advanced a runner to second base. The junior righty was able to fight back, striking out the next two batters and keeping NU on top 5-3.

Tillotson got the job done in the top of the ninth inning with a strikeout. Junior Jaxon Hallmark made a play at second base to get the second out of the inning. With the count 2-2 and Husker fans on their feet, Tillotson ended the game on another strikeout.

Strong performance from the bullpen 

Nebraska’s bullpen had a strong showing on Friday. Perry led the Huskers from the beginning, racking up seven strikeouts on the day, and giving up just one solo run through fiving innings. Schreiber recorded seven strikeouts, and allowed just two runs on four hits. Tillotson finished the day with two crucial strikeouts in the top of the ninth inning.

The Husker bullpen recorded 16 strikeouts combined and didn’t allow a walk on the afternoon.

What's next

Nebraska and Columbia face off on Saturday in a doubleheader. First pitch is set for 12:05 p.m. CST. Game 2 will begin 45 minutes after. Fans can stream both games on BTN+ and listen on the Husker Sports Network.