Griffin Everitt produced Nebraska’s winning run with a first-pitch, two-out single to right, driving in Brice Matthews, who had singled with one out and stolen second base as Efry Cervantes was called out on strikes for the second out—in the 13th inning.
Everitt, batting ninth in the order, was 1-for-5 to that point.
Koty Frank, the ninth pitcher Nebraska used against Rutgers on Monday, then came on to set down the Scarlet Knights in order in the bottom of the 13th, the first by strikeout.
The final score: Nebraska 7, Rutgers 6.
It was redemption, of sorts, for Frank, who had allowed four runs in one inning of relief in the Huskers’ opener of the four-game pod in Piscataway, New Jersey, on Saturday.
Nebraska won that game, also 7-6, against Indiana when pinch-hitter Gunner Hellstrom singled home Spencer Schwellenbach with one out in the bottom of the ninth.
The Huskers, now 23-11 and still a half game behind Indiana in the Big Ten race, lost the first of two games on Sunday, 4-2 to the Hoosiers, but came back to defeat Rutgers 15-5.
Saturday’s game was delayed by rain after the fourth inning. Sunday’s second game was delayed by rain three batters into the top of the sixth inning.
The two-and-two series was unusual in a lot of ways, but no game had more quirks than the last, on getaway day, which meant the 13th was likely the last inning because of a time limit.
“Goodness gracious, so many weird things happened in that game,” Will Bolt said during his post-game radio show on the Husker Network.
Weird including a Rutgers batter violating the rules with a bat that lacked a nob.
Also, weird because Nebraska scored six runs on seven hits, including a two-run home run by Luke Roskam and a two-run double by Matthews, in the top of the first, then didn’t score again until the 13th, while Rutgers scored three runs in the seventh, on Ryan Lasko’s three-run home run, to tie.
That set up the extra-inning drama, which included Schwellenbach, the Husker closer, pitching four drama-filled innings, from the eighth through the 11th.
The first batter he faced doubled and was stranded. Rutgers loaded the bases with one out in the ninth, but couldn’t score, and then after a one-two-three 10th, the Scarlet Knights had a runner at third, following a lead-off double and stolen base with no outs, and came up empty.
There was more drama in the 12th. Kyle Martin came on in relief of Schwellenbach, and with two outs and a runner at first, the Scarlet Knights’ Kevin Welsh, who had opened the second with a home run, doubled to center. The runner at first, Danny DiGeorgio, tried to score, but was thrown out at the plate, center fielder Jaxon Hallmark to Schwellenbach—playing first—to Everitt.
“We played clean defense again today,” said Bolt.
The Huskers were charged with one error when Roskam, the starting first baseman, blocked the base on a pickoff attempt, another oddity requiring umpire discussion.
Nebraska committed only one other error in the four games.
Roskam, who batted cleanup in the final two games, was 7-for-15 for the series, with two home runs—the first a grand slam in the 15-5 victory—and eight runs-batted-in. He now leads the Huskers in hitting (.343), home runs (7), on-base percentage (.472) and slugging percentage (.596) and is tied with Cam Chick, who had been batting cleanup, for the team lead in RBIs with 30.
Hallmark and Max Anderson also are batting over .300, at .340 and .314 respectively.
Nebraska used 22 players on Monday.
“The lineup card looked pretty bare,” Bolt said. “That’s why we remind our guys it usually takes everybody to win, especially on the last day of a series.”
It certainly did.
Mike is in his 40th year covering Husker athletics, after seven years of community-college teaching. He has written and edited a dozen books, all on Nebraska football except one, a brief history of Husker basketball. He previously wrote for the Lincoln Journal and Star and Huskers Illustrated. He enjoys music, from the Grateful Dead and Jack Johnson to Van Morrison, Bob Wills, Glenn Miller and pretty much anyone else.