The Huskers simply didn’t have it Friday night on the road at Indiana. And when it looked like they did have a little life, it was too little, too late.
The Hoosiers, who came into the game 14-22 overall and just 2-7 against Big Ten opponents, beat Nebraska 8-7 while their starting pitcher, Jack Perkins, threw six scoreless innings and had the Hoosiers up 7-0 early in the top of the seventh.
Trailing 7-0 to start the seventh, the Huskers made things interesting thanks to Griffin Everitt and Max Anderson. An RBI single from Everitt put Nebraska on the board for the first time in the game, then Anderson stepped to the plate and delivered a three-run home run to left field that cut the Hoosiers’ lead to 7-4.
After Indiana answered with an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh, there was some late-game magic by Brice Matthews. The Texas native smashed a two-out, three-run home run to center that scored Garrett Anglim and Anderson, who both singled earlier. That longball cut the Husker deficit to 8-7, but Leighton Banjoff’s strikeout looking sealed the win for Indiana.
Nebraska’s offense left nine runners on base in the loss and couldn’t cash in on golden opportunities with runners in scoring position for much of the game. The Huskers wound up going 3-of-9 in that category thanks to the home runs from Anderson and Matthews and the RBI single from Everitt. Indiana outhit Nebraska 12-9.
In the top of the second, Anderson led off with a single, then advanced to second on a throwing error. But the Huskers didn’t make it count as two strikeouts and a flyout followed to keep the Hoosier lead at 1-0.
In the sixth, Matthews drew a two-out walk, then was moved to second with a single from Banjoff. With runners in scoring position, Nebraska couldn’t bring any home as Luke Jessen grounded out to end the threat.
Offensively, Anderson and Anglim both went 3-of-5 at the plate. Anderson and Matthews both led the team with RBIs. Matthews was hitless in his last 22 at-bats before his home run.
Husker right-handed starter Shay Schanaman struggled to find home plate umpire Grady Smith’s strike zone to start the contest and needed 30 pitches to get through the first inning. Schanaman, a Grand Island, Nebraska, native, lasted just four frames and gave up seven runs—six earned—along with eight hits.
Indiana grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first when Brock Tibbitts hit a two-out RBI double. Schanaman loaded the bases after that, but limited the damage as he got out of the inning with a strikeout.
Indiana stretched its 1-0 lead to 4-0 in the third, and the inning got off to an ugly start. Matthews, the Huskers’ second baseman, committed an error, his team-leading 14th of the season, on a routine grounder. Then Schanaman plunked a batter to put runners on first and second.
Tibbitts made the mistakes sting with an RBI single. Soon after, Carter Mathison made the Huskers hurt, too, when he connected on an RBI double down the right-field line. The avalanche of bad continued as Tyler Doanes brought in another run with a sacrifice fly to left that gave the Hoosiers a four-run edge.
Mason Ornelas, a transfer from Texas A&M, pitched 3.2 innings of relief and gave up just one run while striking out three to keep his team in the game.
Saturday’s game between these two will begin at 1 p.m.