Record number fans celebrate Husker seniors
A season-high 7,650 fans came out to honor Nebraska baseball seniors during Saturday's double-header against Michigan.
LINCOLN, Neb. (Nebraska Athletics) – The Nebraska baseball team (31-12) capped the 2021 regular season on Saturday with a doubleheader spit against the Michigan Wolverines (27-17) in front of a season-high crowd of 7,650. The Wolverines took game one, 2-0, and then the Huskers responded with a 5-3 victory to take the weekend series, as NU took the opener on Friday, 1-0.
Michigan entered the weekend with a Big Ten-high 300 runs on the season in 41, an average of 7.3 runs per game. Nebraska’s pitching staff limited the Wolverines to a total of five runs over the three-game series.
Saturday’s crowd was the 24th largest in the 20-year history of Hawks Field and the largest crowd to see a Big Ten baseball game. The previous high for a Big Ten game was on April 15, 2017, when 7,416 fans watched the Huskers host the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Max Anderson, Jaxon Hallmark and Griffin Everitt all had two hits in the finale, including home runs from both Anderson and Hallmark.
Kyle Perry made his third start of the season and improved to 2-0 on the year. Perry struck out a season-high four batters over 3.0 no-hit innings. Since returning from Tommy John surgery, Perry has allowed two runs over 6.0 innings and has struck out eight, while walking one.
Shay Schanaman made his first relief appearance of the season behind Perry and struck out five over 4.0 shutout innings. Freshman Emmett Olson took over in the eighth and retired the Wolverines in order, including a strikeout. Olson got the first two outs of the ninth, but then gave up three runs, and Spencer Schwellenbach came in and finished the win for his ninth save of the season.
Michigan starter Ben Dragani made his 10th appearance and also tossed 3.0 inning in his third start of the year, but was tagged for four runs on four hits and two walks.
After being shutout in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, Nebraska jumped on the scoreboard first with a solo home run from Hallmark in the third inning. The senior outfielder won an eight-pitch at-bat with his eighth home run of the season and 13th of his career.
Schanaman put the Wolverines down in order in the top of the fourth, including a pair of strikeouts, and then the NU offense tacked on three runs. Luke Roskam worked a leadoff walk, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on a RBI single from Anderson. Dragani then walked Brice Matthews and Michigan turned the ball over to reliever Will Proctor. Everitt stepped in and executed a bunt single, loading the bases with no out. Logan Foster delivered a RBI single and Leighton Banjoff followed with a sacrifice fly, pushing Nebraska’s lead to 4-0. With runners on the corners and one out Proctor had a pitch bounce away from catcher Griffin Mazur and Everitt tried to score, but Mazur raced back and made the tag for the second out of the inning. Proctor then ended the inning with a 6-3 groundout.
Schanaman tossed a perfect fifth and retired the first two batters of the sixth before Michigan notched its first hit of the game on a single by Tito Flores. Schanaman went right back to work and got a lineout to end the frame.
Michigan mounted it first scoring threat in the seventh and had the tying run to the plate. Ted Burton was hit by a pitch with one down and later a pair of two-outs singles loaded the bases. Schanaman dug in and struck out Danny Zimmerman looking to leave the bases full, keeping Nebraska ahead 4-0.
Anderson added an insurance run in the eighth when he led off and unloaded on an 1-0 offering from Joe Pace. The freshman third baseman launched the no doubter down the left-field line for his seventh home run of the season, pushing NU’s lead to 5-0.
Olson retired his fifth straight batter to put two outs on the board in the top of the ninth. Mazur then gave Michigan hope with a single and after taking second base he scored on a single from Christian Molfetta, ending the shutout. Jimmy Obertop then hit a two-run home run and quickly Nebraska’s lead was down to 5-3. The Huskers turned the ball to Schwellenbach and the junior got a game-ending strikeout to record his second save of the series.
Huskers now wait to find out where they will play at next week’s NCAA Tournament when the tournament selection show airs on Monday at 11 a.m. on ESPN2.