Roskam Hits Two Home Runs, Huskers Sweep Doubleheader
Nebraska took the first game 6-4 and won game two 17-5.
LINCOLN, Neb. (Nebraska Athletics) – In front of a limited crowd of 1,647 fans on Friday afternoon at Hawks Field the Nebraska baseball team posted a 6-1 win over the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the 2021 home opener. Cade Povich struck out 10 over 7.0 shutout innings and the NU offense notched 11 hits, including two each from Jaxon Hallmark, Luke Roskam, Mojo Hagge and Griffin Everitt.
Povich set a career high with his 7.0 innings of work on Friday, topping his previous best of 6.2 innings against Columbia last season. The junior left hander has now recorded double-digit strikeouts in two of his last three starts, including a career-high 12 against Ohio State on March 12. Povich put the Gophers down in order three times on Friday and allowed just four hits and no walks.
Povich retired the Gophers in order to start the game and then received support from his offense. Hallmark stepped in with one out and blasted a 2-1 offering over the left field fence for his second home run of the season, giving the Huskers a 1-0 lead.
Povich struck out the side in the top of the third before NU’s offense added another run. Joe Acker led off with a single and two batters later scored all the way from first on Spencer Schwellenbach’s fifth double the season.
Trailing 2-0, the Gophers were able to bring the tying run to the plate in the fourth after Zack Rabbe opened the inning with a double, but Povich responded with three straight strikeouts. Povich notched his fourth straight strikeout to start the fifth and went on to retire the Gophers in order with a ground out and a fly out.
Nebraska added to its lead in the bottom of the sixth with three runs on three hits, with all three runs crossing the plate with two outs. Cam Chick led off with a single, Max Anderson walked and then Roskam executed a sacrifice bunt that put two runners in scoring position. Efry Cervantes hit into a fielder’s choice, as Rabbe at second base was able to field the ground ball and cut down Chick at home. With runners on the corners and two out the Gophers went to reliever Tom Skoro, who promptly gave up back-to-back RBI singles to Hagge and Everitt. The Huskers then executed a double steal and on the play catcher Chase Stanke threw wide of second base and Hagge was able to score, increasing NU’s lead to 5-0. Skoro was able to end the inning with a strikeout.
Working with a 5-0 lead Povich retired the Gophers in order in the seventh, including his 10th strikeout of the game to end the frame.
Minnesota was able to get on the board in the top of the eighth when it scored a run on three hits, but Braxton Bragg quickly ended the threat with an inning-ending double play. Nebraska got the run back in the bottom of the frame when Roskam led off with a single and later scored on a single from Everitt.
Game Two Recap:
After needing a late-inning rally to win 6-4 in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader the Nebraska baseball team scored early and often in game two on its way to a 17-5 victory to complete the doubleheader sweep. The Huskers have now won the series against the Gophers and will go for the four-game sweep tomorrow at Noon.
Chaska, Minn., native Luke Roskam hit two home runs in game two, including a grand slam in the bottom of the first. They were Roskam’s 15th and 16th career home runs, while the senior ended the game with a career-high six RBIs.
Along with Roskam’s two homers, Cam Chick and Leighton Banjoff also added home runs. NU pounded out 11 hits while the Gophers were limited two four.
Jake Bunz allowed just two hits over 4.0 shutout innings in his third start of the year. Bunz cruised through the first three innings before Minnesota started the fourth with a walk and a single, but the left hander bounced back with three straight strikeouts. Bunz matched career highs with 4.0 innings and five strikeouts.
Nebraska jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first on Roskam’s grand slam. Joe Acker led off the inning with a single and Jaxon Hallmark followed with a walk. Minnesota starter Patrick Fredrickson responded with a fly out and ground out before he loaded the bases with a two-out walk to Max Anderson. Roskam stepped in and lifted the second pitch of his at bat over the fence in right-center field for his second home run of the season.
The Husker offense blew the game open in the third with eight runs, staring with Chick’s two-run mammoth blast to right field. NU sent 11 batters to the plat in the inning and Chick notched his second extra-base hit of the frame when he delivered a RBI double.
The Gophers got on the board in the top of the fifth when they took advantage of a Husker error, but NU responded with four more runs in the bottom of the frame. After Anderson drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, Hallmark scored on a passed ball and then Roskam came to the plate again and hit a two-run homer to nearly the exact spot he hit his grand slam in the first inning.
Banjoff added a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, his first home run of the season, pushing Nebraska’s lead to 17-1.
Minnesota hit their own grand slam in the top of the seventh, as Ronald Sweeny put a home run into the visitor’s bullpen, taking advantage of two walks earlier in the inning. It was not enough though as the game ended after the top of the seventh due to run rule.
The Huskers and Gophers finish their four-game series tomorrow, with first pitch set for Noon.