Nebraska completed its series sweep of Purdue on Sunday afternoon, defeating the Boilermakers 9-5. The sweep improves the Huskers’ record to 17-9 overall and ties the team for first place in the Big Ten at 7-2.
The offense excelled once again Sunday afternoon, racking up 11 hits on the day. Aaron Palensky recorded his first career home run on Sunday, while Alex Henwood recorded his first of the 2019 season.
Does Sunday’s home run make Palensky a home run hitter now?
“I don't think so,” he said with a laugh post-game. “It was just a windy day and I got a good piece of a ball and was just happy to contribute in that way.”
Reece Eddins lasted 5.0 innings on the mound and got the win. Eddins gave up six hits, four runs and recorded three strikeouts. Shay Schanaman, Paul Tillotson and Colby Comes finished the game on the mound for the Huskers. They only gave up one run combinsed.
It was another big conference win to close out the series with Purdue. Conference sweeps are huge confidence builders for a young team that had already found a hot streak.
Let’s look at 3 takeaways from Nebraska’s series with Purdue.
Offense Comes Alive
Nebraska’s offense had been a step behind the pitching staff up until this point in the season. The pitchers had gone out and won games even without consistent run support.
That all changed this weekend as the Husker offense exploded to outscore the Boilermakers 39-9. It was a complete team effort that spanned the entire series for the first time this year.
Hitting is contagious and this series was evidence of that. It was as if guys like Cam Chick, Palensky, Henwood and Luke Roskam fed off the success of one another.
Nebraska is getting the bat on the ball more than ever and looked confident at the plate all weekend.
“When we can play at that high of a level, we’re going to be hard to stop,” Henwood said.
Cam Chick Finds His Groove
Chick has been a good story so far this year. He came into this season as a true freshman and showed coaches his ability right away. He then found himself in the starting lineup to start the year, but was benched after struggling to get going.
Those are moments that can make or break a player. When you are challenged, you have two options: work harder or shut down. Chick chose to make the most of his time watching form the dugout.
Coach Darin Erstad praised Chick for the work that he put in and how he continued to grind and get better. He re-entered the lineup and really took off against Purdue.
The freshman looked confident at the plate too. He recorded his first career home run Friday and followed that up with a three-run homer on Saturday.
Luckily for Purdue, Chick did not play on Sunday. Erstad said Chick is battling some tightness in his hip flexer/groin, but it will be fun to follow his story for the rest of the season.
No Place Like Home
Nebraska is now 8-0 at home and it is pretty clear that the team is comfortable at Hawks Field. In post-game interviews on Friday, Matt Waldron acknowledged that it is easier to not be nervous at home.
Nebraska fans show up regardless, but wins and great weather made for a great crowd all weekend. Haymarket Park was lively and the crowd was into every game.
Nobody wants to talk about the 2018 season, but there is a completely different feel this year. If the Huskers can continue this momentum, home games are going be a great environment the rest of the year.
Nebraska is back at Haymarket Park on Tuesday to take on Creighton. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. CT.