After losing 3-2 in a pitching duel Friday afternoon, the Huskers played the Cougars once again for a Friday doubleheader and lost in heartbreaking fashion, 7-6.
Game one of the Huskers doubleheader against BYU went similar to Thursday’s outing with little output from both offenses. The two teams combined for three runs and four total hits.
Senior pitcher Shay Schanaman started and ended the game on the mound for the Huskers, giving up three runs on just two hits in the game.
Through three innings, the game stayed even at zero. In the bottom of the fourth, sophomore third baseman Max Anderson finally jolted the Husker faithful with a deep shot to right field to give the Huskers a 1-0 lead. Later in the inning, senior catcher Griffin Everitt reached home on a wild pitch from the Cougars pushing the lead to 2-0.
The Cougars answered the Husker runs with three of their own in the fifth inning, as sophomore outfielder Dawsen Hall singled to left field with the bases loaded, scoring two runners to even the game at 2-2. The ensuing at-bat for the Cougars scored another run on a sacrifice fly to give BYU its first lead of the ballgame, 3-2.
With only two innings left due in game one of the doubleheader, the Huskers offense needed to find a spark on offense, but could not. BYU ended the game without giving up another hit, winning 3-2.
Schanaman went all seven innings for the Huskers, saving most of their bullpen for the second game of the day and for the final outing on Friday.
Forty five minutes later, both teams were back on the field ready for game two.
Unlike game one, the bats got going early for both sides, leading to early runs on the scoreboard.
Sophomore pitcher Emmett Olson cleaned up the top of the Cougar batting order in the first inning and the Huskers answered in the bottom half. Senior left fielder Cam Chick led off with a walk and advanced to third after a throwing error on freshman right fielder Garrett Anglim’s single to right field, putting runners on the corners with no outs.
Anderson grounded out for the first out of the inning but was then followed up by a single through the left side by Griffin, scoring Chick and moving Anglim to third with the Huskers now up 1-0 in the first.
Freshman designated hitter Josh Caron doubled to left field to start the bottom of the second inning and was moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from sophomore second baseman Brice Matthews. Sophomore first baseman Jack Steil then hit an RBI single up the middle to score Chick from third and increase the Husker lead to 2-0.
The Cougars finally found some momentum in the third inning as freshman catcher Mason Strong reached first base on a Matthews’ infield error from second. The next batter for the Cougars sent a missile over the right field wall, evening up the score at 2-2.
Thanks to multiple lead-off hits, the Huskers were able to score runs by advancing its runners by whatever means necessary. In the bottom of the third, Matthews doubled to left center field. Later, junior outfielder Leighton Banjoff brought in Matthews via an RBI groundout to retake the lead for Nebraska 3-2.
In the top of the sixth inning, Huskers manager Will Bolt elected to put junior pitcher Mason Ornelas in to relieve Olson. Olson finished the day with five strikeouts in five innings while walking three batters.
A lead-off double from BYU junior right fielder Ryan Sepede and a walk put runners on first and second in the inning. Then, the Cougars recorded back-to-back hits, first a single that scored one run followed by a double to left field to bring in two more runs, giving the Cougars a 5-3 lead.
Just one inning later in the top of the seventh, the Cougars continued to rack up the base runners.
Three walks and a hit by pitch from Husker freshman relievers Chandler Benson and CJ Hood scored another run for the Cougars, extending the lead to 6-3.
In the bottom half of the seventh, the Huskers found life from a Steil walk and then a two-run blast by Chick to right field, cutting the Cougar lead to 6-5.
Anglim came up to bat after Chick and got hit by a wild pitch, bringing up Anderson, who then delivered in a huge way with a triple down the right field line, scoring Anglim from first to tie the ballgame up at 6-6.
Continuing the back and forth affair, Strong homered to right field in the eighth to retake a one run lead for the Cougars.
The Huskers could not answer back in the final two innings, losing again to BYU with the final score 7-6. The devastating losses on the day put Nebraska at 13-20 overall on the season, 5-9 at home and seventh in the Big Ten.
“At the end of the day, you are what your record says you are for a reason,” Bolt said postgame. “They got the big swings, they made the big plays… we didn’t.”
Anderson recorded three hits on the day including an RBI triple and a two-run home run, a positive sign for the future of the Husker baseball team, regardless of the loss.
“Baseball is a game of failure, the hall of farmers fail for 70% of their career, so that's just something you have to realize and that you're not going to be near perfect in this game and that mindset helps in the thick of it,” Anderson said postgame.
The Huskers finish up their four game series against BYU at Haymarket Park on Saturday.