Six in a row. The Nebraska baseball team completed a four-game series sweep of Minnesota with a 10-2 victory on Sunday at Hawks Field at Haymarket Park, extending a winning streak to six.
Before 2,599 it should be noted, after 2,584 for Saturday’s double-header and 1,647 on Friday, following the Big Ten’s relaxation of attendance rules, leaving that to state and local guidelines.
MORE: Welcome Back, Husker Nation | Photos
Anyway, the Huskers’ six-game winning streak, to improve their Big Ten-only record to 11-4, snapped a three-game losing streak, which snapped a five-game winning streak, after a season-opening loss.
Nebraska last had a six-game conference winning streak in 2014, when it won seven in a row, finished 18-6 in the Big Ten and advanced to an NCAA regional.
Don’t ask the Huskers about the winning streak, however. Or at least don’t ask Shay Schanaman.
“We don’t really keep track of the wins in a row, wins and losses in a row, whatever,” said Schanaman. “You guys tell us when we’re winning a lot in a row. We just kind of try to do the same thing and that’s win today, and then (when) tomorrow comes, we will win tomorrow.
“And you know, they’ll pile up on their own.”
It’s not quite that simple, of course, but the wins have certainly piled up of late, and Schanaman played a significant role in Sunday’s victory. The junior right-hander pitched seven shutout innings before giving up a single and a double after striking out the first batter in the eighth.
He finished with 10 strikeouts and walked only one in 7.1 innings. Both hits turned into earned runs.
“It would be easy after a tough outing last week to kind of start to feel sorry for yourself a little bit,” Coach Will Bolt said of Schanaman. “But he really buckled down in that first inning and got off the field with a zero. I thought that was a big moment. And you could see it in his body language.”
In his last start against Iowa the previous Sunday, Schanaman gave up a three-run home run after getting the first two Hawkeyes out in the first inning. He lasted only 2.2 innings, giving up four hits, walking five and striking out three. He gave up a fourth run, also earned.
Cade Povich opened the Minnesota series in similarly impressive fashion, pitching seven shutout innings, allowing only four hits and striking out 10, with no walks.
Offensively, Luke Roskam was 7-for-13 on the weekend with two home runs and nine runs-batted-in. He now leads Nebraska with a .379 batting average—and has three home runs and 13 RBIs.
Cam Chick was 4-for-12 with a home run, a double and 4 RBIs. He leads the team with 18 RBIs and is tied with freshman Max Anderson with four home runs.
Jaxon Hallmark is second on the team with a .364 average. Spencer Schwellenbach is third at .333. And Anderson is fourth, with a .321 average and 15 RBIs.
Though he was only 2-for-10 in the series, Joe Acker walked six times and scored six runs, batting leadoff. “Over the course of the last handful of games here, I think Acker’s done a fantastic job of just setting the table at the top of the order,” Bolt said, of Acker, like Roskam a fifth-year senior. He has “really set the tone for the offense, of getting our guys to have a good approach right away.”
Fifteen games into the season, identifying roles for players is getting easier.
“We certainly have a bigger sample size now, who’s seeing the ball well at the plate, who’s capable on defense, strike throwers on the mound, those type of things, I think,” said Bolt.
Schanaman showed on Sunday he was capable of throwing strikes, of getting ahead in the count, which contributed to the Huskers’ sixth consecutive victory and allowed them to climb into a tie with Michigan for second in the Big Ten standings. Indiana is first, with an 11-3 record.
“We don’t think about that a whole lot,” Schanaman said of the streak. “We just go out there and try to win today and just stack days on top of each other and it’ll take care of itself.”
He makes it sound easy. It’s not.
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.