Postseason baseball is here and No. 5 seed Nebraska opened Big Ten Tournament play against No. 4 seed Minnesota Wednesday night in Omaha. The crowd was mostly Husker fans and they had a lot to cheer for in the 8-2 win.
Fortune was on Nebraska’s side as all of the lower seeds in the tournament won early in the day. The Huskers wasted no time with a three-run first inning, including Angelo Altavilla’s 150th career hit. It was a big one too, as it was a 2 RBI triple to give Nebraska the early momentum.
Altavilla was especially thankful for the fan support on the first night in Omaha.
“To have the crowd that we had tonight with the energy in that stadium, it gives Matt [Waldron] a lot of energy and gives the bats a lot of energy,” he said. “I want to thank the fans for that.”
Waldron, an Omaha native, started the game with three straight strikeouts and worked his way into fourth place all-time in Nebraska career strikeouts. He ended his career with 239 total strikeouts.
Against Minnesota specifically, Waldron was in command on the mound. He recorded nine strikeouts through 7.1 innings.
The Huskers have leaned on pitching all season and Waldron was dominant Wednesday night. The offense, on the other hand, has been the difference as of late. Minnesota actually outhit Nebraska 7-4 on the night, but the Huskers were able to convert runners when they were in scoring position.
“We had four hits and all four of them were huge,” Coach Darin Erstad said post-game. “I think we scored six runs with two outs and that’s how you win baseball games.”
Altavilla led the charge again going two-for-four with a triple and three RBIs. Spencer Schwellenbach added three RBIs himself including a standup double.
The Huskers continue to ride their run of recent success and are now 6-2 in their last eight games.
Next up for Nebraska is the Iowa Hawkeyes, a team that took two of three from the Huskers earlier in the season (just like Minnesota, for what it’s worth). Altavilla knows that the team has something to prove.
“They took two out of three from us so we are coming in with a little bit of a chip on our shoulder,” he said. “It will be a lot of fun tomorrow night.”
The Huskers and Hawkeyes are set for a 9 p.m. CT start. The matchup will be televised on the Big Ten Network.