Anderson Minnesota

Nebraska’s Max Anderson bats during the game against Minnesota at Haymarket Park on Saturday, March 27, 2021, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

With one weekend left to play, Nebraska baseball clinched the regular season Big Ten championship with a 9-0 win over Ohio State on Sunday.

Husker junior pitcher Kyle Perry made his second start of the season in what turned out to be a bullpen game for the conference leaders. Coming off of Tommy John surgery, Perry dominated in his limited two innings of work, striking out three batters.

Help from the offense came immediately as Nebraska exploded for five runs in the first inning on six hits, five of which were singles. The Huskers sent 10 batters to the plate in total, and took control of the game early.

Senior pitcher Max Schreiber came into the game in relief of Perry, entering Sunday’s outing giving up three runs over his last two appearances. He settled in against the Buckeyes, though,  and gave head coach Will Bolt and the Huskers four shutout innings out of the bullpen while fanning five Buckeyes.

Nebraska continued the scoring in the third frame, as freshman infielder Max Anderson began things with a single. Anderson tied the conference lead in hits on the season in Sunday’s contest, going 3-for-4 on the day, sharing the honor with his teammate, senior outfielder Jaxon Hallmark.

Another freshman, infielder Brice Matthews, reached base on an errant throw and allowed Anderson to move all the way to third. Senior infielder Gunner Hellstrom knocked him in for a 6-0 lead courtesy of a deep sacrifice fly.

With Schreiber continuing to deal on the mound for the Huskers, Hallmark delivered with a one-out home run to push the Husker lead to 7-0. Later in the fourth frame, following a double from senior infielder Luke Roskam, Anderson came through with an RBI single to extend Nebraska’s lead to 8-0.

Nebraska pitching dominated for a bullpen that has been struggling to find its identity over recent weeks. Combined, they only allowed five total hits and allowed just three baserunners to reach scoring position all game.

In the sixth inning, the onslaught carried on as senior outfielder Joe Acker reached base via another Buckeye error. Advancing on a sacrifice fly, junior infielder Spencer Schwellenbach kept his stellar weekend going, this time with an RBI single for the Huskers’ final run of the afternoon.

Bolt gave junior reliever Tyler Martin one batter to face, resulting in a punchout to start the seventh. Hard-throwing junior pitcher Cam Wynne finished off the seventh and delivered a scoreless eighth frame to keep the game at 9-0. 

Sophomore pitcher Caleb Feekin was called upon to close the game, striking out the final batter to win the contest. He proved why he is one of the premier arms in the Husker bullpen, holding his ERA under two while clinching the victory.

With the win, Nebraska improves its record to 29-11 on the season and guarantees themselves the Big Ten regular-season Championship. An NCAA At-Large bid is a lock for the Huskers, as Sunday marked their first Big Ten Championship since 2017.

“This is everything we work for, every morning at practice for a moment like this winning a Big Ten championship,” Schwellenbach said postgame. “The leaders on this team have been phenomenal, and it's helped us get to this point.”

The championship marks the Huskers’ eighth conference title in total, and their second while being a member of the Big Ten. Just one season after a COVID-19-shortened 7-8 campaign, the Huskers delivered a masterful season and capped it off with a championship.

“Just to see the season ripped away from us last year, and having three seniors come back this is everything,” Nebraska baseball head coach Will Bolt said postgame. “The leadership on this team has carried us this entire season.”

The Huskers return home for the final weekend series of the year in a three-game series against second-place Michigan. Game one will be Friday at noon, with junior pitcher Cade Povich starting on the mound.

sports@dailynebraskan.com