Nebraska (7-7) played a live baseball game at Haymarket Park for the first time in 2019 on Tuesday. Mother Nature had one last laugh though, as the matchup with Air Force was moved back about an hour to a 4:05 p.m. CT first pitch. It was cold and wet most of the day, but Nebraska made the most of it.
Air Force (9-6) brought in a strong team that includes a win over No. 14 East Carolina. It was a tightly contested game and Nebraska went through seven pitchers but ultimately walked away with a 7-6 victory.
“Today was set up for a lot of excuses if you come out and don't play well,” Coach Darin Erstad said. “I thought we found a way to get it done and that’s good.”
Reece Eddins got the nod on the mound for the home opener and went three innings for the Huskers. Eddins recorded three strikeouts, gave up two hits and no runs. Freshman Colby Gomes finished out the game to pick up his third save of the year.
Nebraska saw continued success at the plate from guys like sophomore Aaron Palensky and freshman Spencer Schwellenbach. Both of these guys have had strong starts to their seasons, but they were especially sharp in their first game at Haymarket Park. Schwellenbach went 3-of-4, including a double. Palensky was 3-for-3 on the day and a homerun away from batting the cycle.
For a local guy like Palensky — he hails from Papillion, Nebraska — it was extra special.
“It was awesome,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for this for a long time and getting the ‘W’ made it even better.”
Sophomore outfielder Keegan Watson showed his power potential smacking a three run homer in the bottom of the fourth inning to extend the lead and give the Huskers a 4-0 advantage.
💣 WATSON BOMB 💣@keeganwatson28 puts one in the RF pen.
Big Red lead 4-0. pic.twitter.com/kqAK09rg0G
— Nebraska Baseball (@Husker_Baseball) March 19, 2019
The lead didn’t last long though, with Air Force storming back ahead 6-5 in the top of the seventh.
Things got interesting in the bottom of the seventh when Nebraska loaded the bases after back-to-back walks. Junior Luke Roskam was hit by a pitch to bring Schwellenbach in for the game-tying run. Junior Joe Acker brought in junior Mojo Hagge on a sacrifice fly for what would be the game-winning run.
Nebraska is now 1-0 at home on the season.
The Huskers will be back at Haymarket Park on Wednesday for Round 2 with Air Force. First pitch is set for 1:35 p.m. CT.