Nebraska baseball won both games of its doubleheader against Purdue in Round Rock, Texas on Saturday. The Huskers responded well and poured it on the Boilermakers just a day after a walk-off loss in the season opener against the same team.
Senior pitcher Chance Hroch was dealing in the first game for the Huskers, going six innings and only walking one batter while striking out three. He gave the bullpen some rest a day after junior pitcher Cade Povich only went three innings in their 6-5 loss.
Through the first two innings, both teams remained scoreless, although the Boilermakers threatened in the second inning with runners on second and third base. Hroch worked his way out of the situation with a strikeout and pick-off move, halting all Purdue momentum.
“I thought he kind of set the tone in the first inning and did a really nice job,” head coach Will Bolt said. “He’s a savvy veteran who worked out of trouble with no runs allowed, leading to six runs the inning after and that was the game.”
Nebraska caught fire in the top of the third, plating six runs on four hits a day after it went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Today, the Huskers delivered with run-scoring hits by freshman infielder Max Anderson, senior infielder Luke Roskam and senior outfielder Joe Acker.
In total, Nebraska piled on 11 hits to go along with seven runs. The Huskers got production from everyone in the lineup en route to a dominant bounceback 7-2 victory.
“Baseball is a funny game, sometimes it feels like you can never get a big hit and other times it feels like the easiest thing in the world,” Bolt said. “The entire game we were much better moving the baseball top to bottom and just being competitive overall.”
Junior pitcher Cam Wynne impressed as well, coming in and slamming the door on the Boilermaker comeback late in the game. Purdue strung together a pair of hits to open the seventh inning, leading to Wynne relieving Hroch.
The former Texas A&M transfer blew away Purdue’s heart of the order in convincing fashion. Bolt praised the right-hander for getting the job done to secure the win.
“It was good to see Cam Wynne come in with some pressure on and start stuffing strikes,” Bolt said. “He throws the ball over the plate around 95 mph and that’s tough to hit, good back-end type stuff.”
In the second game, the offense continued to score in bunches, having another big inning in the second. The Huskers jumped out to an early 5-0 lead with four hits in the frame, the most impactful one coming from freshman infielder Brice Matthews, who roped a bases-clearing double.
“He’s a mature hitter and he’s had some jitters, but we’ve seen it from him and that was a big spot right there,” Bolt said. “That was obviously the momentum grabber in the second game.”
The beatdown continued in the fourth inning. Matthews had an RBI single, and Anderson followed that up with a two-run single. Anderson and Matthews both had big games, hitting a combined 4-of-8 with six runs batted in.
Purdue’s pitching staff walked 14 batters in the second game, as the Boilermakers went through four pitchers in seven innings.
“It was a lot grittier of a day, and today we had a lot of team at-bats and didn’t do too much trying to drive runners in,” Bolt said. “Just a lot of really competitive at-bats, living in the big part of the field all day long.”
Sophomore pitcher Shay Schanaman dominated the Boilermakers, throwing six shutout innings with five strikeouts. He kept Purdue senior outfielder Ben Nisle, who went 5-of-8 from the plate in the first two games of the series, in check, striking him out three times.
Schanaman allowed only two hits in his first career start for the Huskers. With 25 appearances over his career for Nebraska, he showed no signs of growing pains making the transition to a weekend starter.
“His line was amazing, but early in the game he was a little but nervous since it was his first time starting for us,” Bolt said. “You could tell when he flipped a switch to compete mode his stuff really played up.”
Nebraska played with confidence, and its pitching staff especially shined on Saturday. The Huskers have now only allowed eight runs through three games, showing vast improvement from last season.
The Huskers (2-1) will battle Purdue (1-2) one more time tomorrow in the series finale at 10 a.m. on BTN+. Junior pitcher Jake Bunz will take the mound for Nebraska and will square off against sophomore pitcher Jett Jackson.