Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Husker Bats Go Cold as Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Takes Game Two of Series

March 19, 2022

After three walk-off wins this week, Nebraska was looking for an easier and less-tense path to victory in the second of a three-game series against the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders on a sunny and cloudless Saturday afternoon at Haymarket Park in Lincoln.

To accomplish that, the Huskers wanted a quality outing from their starting pitcher, which is something they haven’t gotten in the previous two games. In Friday’s matchup against the Islanders, Kyle Perry left the mound in the top of the first inning and was feeling discomfort after throwing 19 pitches. The game before that, Wednesday against New Mexico State, freshman Drew Christo threw 23 pitches before departing in the first after walking three.

On Saturday, Shay Schanaman gave head coach Will Bolt was he was looking for. The right-hander from Grand Island, Nebraska, was solid. He lasted 6.2 innings and allowed just one earned run and three hits while striking out five and walking three. Nebraska’s offense, however, never got going, and it played a big role in a 4-1 Husker loss.

Nebraska, which drops to 8-10 on the season, was outhit 7-1 and left eight runners on base. The Huskers stranded a runner at second in the fourth. In the second, they had men on first and second, but couldn’t bring them home.

A base-running mental error kept the offense off the scoreboard in a 2-0 game in the seventh. Garrett Anglim recorded first Husker hit of the game with a single to left, then Cam Chick drew a walk to put runners on first and second with one out. Nebraska couldn’t cash in on the opportunity, though, as a sharply-hit ball to center from Gabe Swansen was caught, and Anglim, too close to third, didn’t get back to second base in time and was doubled up for the third out.

There was more trouble after that, too. The bases were loaded with one out in the eighth for Nebraska, and the Huskers started well when Anglim was hit by a pitch to earn an RBI the painful way. But that was all the rally could muster. Brice Matthews popped up for the second out. Corpus Christi went to the bullpen after that and put Zach Garcia on the mound to face Colby Gomes with the bases juiced. Gomes struck out swinging on a full count.

“We loaded up in the eighth there, and it looked like our moment that we’d been cashing in on the entire homestand,” Nebraska head coach Will Bolt said after the game. “There was a crack there and we had a chance to go run through it and just weren’t able to do it.”

The Husker bats made solid contact on Islanders’ pitcher Hayden Thomas, but many of the grounders and fly balls were hit right at the Corpus Christi defense. Thomas, a 6-foot-1, 190-pounder from Leander, Texas, went 7.2 innings and didn’t allow an earned run. He walked four and hit two batters, but gave up just one hit, an RBI single to left from Anglim in the seventh. Thomas didn’t strike anyone out, either.

“He had a good fastball. He maintained his velocity for most of the game,” Bolt said of Thomas. “He just kept attacking, he was on attack and even though he walked a few guys, he just kind of kept getting right back in the strike zone. They made some diving plays in the outfield, we hit a couple balls up against the wall. That’s baseball, that’s why you have a team-oriented offense. You move the ball when you need to, you pass the line down when you need to.

“We had those big moments today—we’ve been cashing in on them and we didn’t do it, unfortunately, today.”

The defense behind Schanaman was generally good, but it committed two errors and now has six of those in the last three games.

Those mistakes showed themselves at key spots, like in the seventh. Corpus Christi’s Nate White reached first after a grounder got past Matthews at second and into right field. That mishap stung the Huskers later in the inning when Justin Taylor brought White home with a one-out RBI single to give the Islanders a 2-0 edge.

In the ninth, Corpus Christi tacked on two runs on two hits off of reliever Emmett Olson to push its lead to 4-1. The Huskers went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth as reliever Zach Garcia threw two strikeouts and forced a line-out.

The Huskers will try to win the series in Sunday’s game, which is scheduled to get started at 12:05 p.m.

“The hitters just gotta be better,” Anglim said. “We have championship Sunday tomorrow, win the series, that’s the next focus.”

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