Matthews’ three-run blast in eighth sends Huskers to 6-3 win
Brice Matthews delivered a three-run blast in the bottom of the eighth, as the Huskers kept their postseason hopes alive with a 6-3 win vs. Michigan State. (Photo courtesy: Jordan Opp/Nebraska Communications)
LINCOLN, Neb. (Nebraska Athletics) – Brice Matthews delivered a three-run blast in the bottom of the eighth, as the Huskers kept their postseason hopes alive with a 6-3 win vs. Michigan State at Hawks Field on Friday night.
The Huskers need to win tomorrow vs. Michigan State and Maryland to complete the series sweep at Purdue on Saturday to clinch a spot in the Big Ten Baseball Tournament in Omaha next week.
Nebraska (22-30, 9-14 Big Ten) scored six runs on nine hits and an error, while the Spartans (24-29, 8-15 Big Ten) had three runs on five hits.
Starter Emmett Olson tossed seven strong innings in the no-decision, allowing three runs on five hits and striking out seven Spartans. Koty Frank improved to 5-0 on the season after pitching the final two innings without giving up a hit.
Matthews was one of two Huskers with two hits after going 2-for-4 with the three-run homer. Colby Gomes went 2-for-4 with a double, home run and an RBI, while five Huskers had one hit apiece. Cam Chick had a double and Max Anderson drove in two runs.
Michigan State took a 1-0 lead in the second with a solo homer to left center by Jack Frank.
The Huskers responded in the bottom half of the inning with a solo homer of its own after Gomes’ 433-foot solo shot climbed the berm in right center to even the score at one.
Chick led off the bottom of the third with a double and Garrett Anglim was hit by pitch to place two runners on with no outs, before Anderson ripped a two-RBI double through the left side to give Nebraska 3-1 lead after three innings.
Trent Farquhar began the fourth by lifting a solo home run to right, cutting the Husker lead in half at 3-2.
Michigan State opened the sixth with a single, while Olson drew a groundout and strikeout to the next two batters. The Spartans tied the game at three with a two-out triple by Casey Mayes, before Olson struck out the next batter to keep the go-ahead run at third.
Olson shut out the Spartans in the seventh, while Frank blanked MSU in the eighth to head into the bottom of the eighth locked in a tie at three.
Gomes had a ground-rule double down the right field line to begin the bottom of the eighth and Leighton Banjoff drew a walk on full count, before a wild pitch advanced runners to second and third with no outs. Matthews followed smacking a 1-2 pitch to center for a 437-foot three-run blast to center to give Nebraska a three-run lead.
Frank worked around a one-out Nebraska fielding error in the top of the ninth and struck out the final two Spartans to clinch the 6-3 win for the Big Red.
The Huskers and Spartans go for the series win tomorrow at 12:05 p.m. at Hawks Field.