Nebraska baseball beats Maryland in series opener, stays in first place in Big Ten
The Huskers improved to 14-5 and have now won nine of their past 10 games.
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN/Husker Athletics) – The Nebraska baseball team (14-5) picked up its ninth win over its last 10 games with a 6-2 victory against the Maryland Terrapins (9-11) in Friday’s series opener at Hawks Field.
The Huskers were led at the plate by leadoff hitter Joe Acker, who went 3-for-5 with three doubles and two runs scored. Freshman Bryce Matthews delivered from the bottom of the lineup, going 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBIs and two stolen bases. Spencer Schwellenbach also added a pair of hits and drove in three runs, while also pitching a scoreless ninth to end the game.
Acker’s three-double game is the first by a Husker since 2017 when Angelo Altavilla hit three against Utah on Feb. 24.
Cade Povich went 6.1 innings for the Huskers and with the win improved to 3-1 on the year. The junior lefty allowed two runs on four hits and three walks, while striking out five. Three Husker relievers combined to throw 2.2 shutout innings behind Povich to secure the win.
Maryland starter Sean Burke entered the game averaging 9.4 strikeouts per game and notched six on Friday. The right hander allowed just four hits and walked three over his 5.2 innings of work, but the Huskers made the most of their chances as NU’s offense scored five runs (four earned) off the redshirt sophomore.
The Huskers jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, cashing in Acker’s leadoff double. After lining an 0-2 pitch down the right-field line Acker moved to third on a fly out and then scored on a RBI groundout from Schwellenbach.
Povich hit the first batter of the game, but picked him off, and then retired six straight before Justin Vought worked a one-out walk in top of the third. Povich went right back to work with a strikeout and a pop out to strand Vought at first.
The Terps evened the game at 1-1 in the top of the fourth, but were in position for an even bigger inning as they left the bases loaded. The inning started with Maryland’s first hit of the game, a leadoff single from Randy Bednar. Povich induced consecutive fielder’s choice ground outs, leaving a runner on first with two out. Luke Shliger then started a two-out rally with a double and the Huskers intentionally walked Benjamin Cowles, loading the bases. Povich fell behind Tucker Flint 2-0, battled back to a full count, before walking Flint to plate a run. With the bases still full Povich got out of the jam with his fourth strikeout of the game.
The Huskers retook the lead in the bottom of the fifth with three runs on two hits and an error. Nine-hole hitter Griffin Everitt worked a leadoff walk and Acker delivered his second double of the game, also NU’s second hit, to put two runners in scoring position. After Burke got a foul out, Schwellenbach came through with a two-RBI single and moved into scoring position himself on the throw home. With Cam Chick at the plate Schwellenbach took third on a passed ball and on the play Vought threw the ball into left field, allowing Schwellenbach to score.
Working with a 4-1 lead, Povich came out in the top of the sixth and retired Maryland’s 4-5-6 hitters in order.
The Huskers tagged on a run in the bottom of the sixth on a two-out solo homer from Matthews. After flying out to the left-field warning track in each of his first two at bats of the game, the freshman from Humble, Texas, took a 1-0 pitch from Burke over the center-field wall for his second home run of the season. The home run ended Burke’s day and the Terps brought in right hander Sean Heine. Everitt welcomed Heine with a single and Acker followed with his third double of the game. Heine buckled down and got a pop out to leave two on base.
Povich retired Flint to start the seventh and then gave up a solo shot to deep left-center field off the bat of Vought, cutting NU’s lead to 5-2. NU went to reliever Cam Wynne, who got a fly out but then gave up a double and a four-pitch walk. With the tying run at the plate, Wynne got three-hitter Matthew Shaw to ground out to end the frame.
Nebraska got the run back in the bottom of the eighth when Matthews picked up his second RBI of the day with an single that drove in Luke Roskam, who drew his third walk of the game to start the frame.
Leading 6-2, Schwellenbach notched a pair of strikeouts in the ninth to secure the win.
The Huskers and Terps are set to meet against tomorrow at 2 PM. The game will be carried statewide on NET and video stream nationally on BTN+.
Game two of the series against the Terps starts at 2 p.m. Saturday on NET.