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Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Sweep of Penn State Keeps Huskers in First by a Half-Game

April 19, 2021

Will Bolt explained how his Nebraska baseball team gets the job done after the Huskers defeated Penn State 5-3 on Sunday to complete a three-game weekend sweep in University Park.

“Have the blinders on, keep our head down and just show up and work,” Bolt said during his post-game radio show on the Learfield-IMG Husker Network.

That’s the only way “we can get accomplished what we want to accomplish,” he said.

Though the result was the same, Nebraska accomplished it differently on Sunday than it had on Friday, when it won 8-2, or Saturday, an 11-2 victory.

The Huskers had a combined 31 hits and didn’t commit an error in the first two games. They managed only seven hits and committed two errors on Sunday.

Penn State reliever Kyle Shingledecker retired the final 10 in a row on Sunday. But Nebraska’s pitchers matched it. Starter Shay Schanaman retired the last two batters he faced to finish the sixth, then Jake Bunz went three-up-three-down in the seventh and Spencer Schwellenbach went six-up-six-down in the eighth and ninth, including three strikeouts, for his fifth save in eight appearances.

Schwellenbach has yet to allow a run and has struck out 16 without a walk in 10 innings.

As was the case a week ago against Maryland, Schanaman went six innings without yielding a walk. He struck out 16 in those 12 innings, including five Nittany Lions. “We probably caused him to throw 20 more pitches than he needed to, just not playing defense behind him,” said Bolt.

Schanaman’s record improved to a team-best 4-0—with a 4.89 earned-run-average.

Nebraska’s pitching was solid all weekend. Cade Povich went 5.2 innings, striking out six with no walks and allowing just two runs, on Friday. Bunz, the second of three relievers, earned the victory, while Chance Hroch went seven innings, allowing just two runs, to earn Saturday’s victory.

The Husker relievers—Bunz, Schwellenbach, Cam Wynne, Ethan Bradford, Braxton Bragg and Max Schreiber—worked a combined 8.1 scoreless innings in the three games, striking out 14 and walking only two.

Six Huskers had two hits in Friday’s game; Jaxon Hallmark had four hits and Cam Chick and Max Anderson each had three hits in Saturday’s game, while Anderson was Nebraska’s only multiple-hit batter on Sunday, going 2-for-5 with a run scored and a run-batted-in.

Hallmark and Chick each drove in four runs over the weekend. Schwellenbach and Luke Roskam each drove in three. Chick leads the Huskers with 27 RBIs. Schwellenbach has 21, Anderson 20.

The first six in Nebraska’s batting order are hitting better than .300, led by Hallmark at .383.

The 18-6 Huskers retain first place in the Big Ten by a half-game over 18-7 Michigan, which swept a three-game series at Minnesota and has won five in a row.

Indiana is third, with a 15-8 record, Iowa fourth, at 15-10.

“We talk about ‘championship Sunday,’” Bolt said on his post-game show. “We always talk about the most mentally tough team is going to win each time and especially . . . it shows on Sunday.”

By Sunday, “maybe you don’t have your best bat speed, maybe your legs aren’t quite as fresh,” he said. “You’ve just got to find a way to grind through it and get it done.”

Blinders on, head down, show up and work.

“Just find a way to win three games in somebody else’s ballpark,” said Bolt.

Which is exactly what the Huskers did.

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