In its first game against the Hoosiers, the Nebraska baseball team came up short despite a seventh inning three-run homerun from sophomore third baseman Max Anderson.
The Hoosiers recorded two innings with three runs a piece, pushing them atop the Huskers 8-7. With senior pitcher Shay Schanaman on the mound for the Huskers, things went sideways quick.
In the bottom of the first inning with two outs, Indiana freshman third baseman Josh Pyne doubled off of Schanaman down the left field line followed by a walk to put two men on base. The ensuing batter, freshman catcher Brock Tibbitts, also doubled down the left field line to score Pyne and give the Hoosiers an early 1-0 lead.
The Huskers got runners on base in the second inning but could not bring either home. Then, after a scoreless second inning, the Hoosiers got the bats rolling in the bottom half of the third.
Pyne reached base for the second time off an error from sophomore second baseman Brice Matthews. Schanaman then proceeded to hit the Hoosiers next batter, followed by Tibbitts scoring Pyne once again to increase the lead to 2-0.
Looking to keep the hitting party rolling, freshman designated hitter Carter Mathison advanced Tibbitts to third and scored another run for the Hoosiers on a double down the right field line. To cap off the big inning, senior second baseman Tyler Doanes hit a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring the third run of the inning to push the lead up to 4-0.
Unable to answer through four innings, the Husker offense continued to put pressure on Schanaman to deliver, and he could not consistently.
Indiana answered its big third inning with back-to-back singles in the fourth, followed by a three run moonshot to left field by Pyne that put the Huskers close to out of reach down 7-0.
Husker manager Will Bolt decided to keep Schanaman in after the Pyne homerun and it paid off as Schanaman retired the side to stop the bleeding.
Entering the seventh inning down 7-0 after two scoreless frames from both sides, the Huskers needed anything to work at such a dire moment.
Senior outfielder Cam Chick was hit by a pitch with one out in the inning and advanced to second on a single from freshman right fielder Garrett Anglim. Another single from senior catcher Griffin Everitt pushed Chick across the plate for the Huskers first run of the game.
Still down six runs with little time left in the ballgame, the Huskers found a prayer from Anderson on a three run bomb over the fence, scoring three runs to make the deficit 7-4.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Hoosiers answered right back with a run of their own. A bunt single from Mathison followed by a triple from Doanes gave just enough cushion for the Hoosiers with a 8-4 lead.
Freshman relief pitcher Grant Holderfield performed to perfection for the Hossiers in the top of the eighth, retiring the side to keep their four run lead safe with only the top of the ninth remaining.
Down to three outs, the Huskers needed the rally of a lifetime, and almost had it.
Anglim singled for the second time of the night to put a runner on base with one out, bringing up Anderson who homered in his last at-bat. This time around, Anderson did not go yard but singled up the middle of the diamond, advancing Anglim to second.
Hoosiers manager Jeff Mercer saw enough from Holderfield following the Anderson single, electing to bring in senior closer Braydon Tucker.
Tucker forced freshman designated hitter Josh Caron into a popup to first base, leaving the Huskers down to its final out, still down four runs.
Matthews entered the batters box with two men on and refused to back down, launching the second Husker three run homerun of the night. The Huskers were now just one run away from completing the immaculate rally.
The final batter of the night for Nebraska ended the late rally short as junior first baseman Leighton Banjoff struck out swinging to end the game 8-7.
Pitching struggled heavily across the board for Nebraska as five different Hoosiers recorded two hits in the game. The Huskers left nine men on base, an issue that may seem unfixable for Bolt and his team this late into the season.
Both teams return to action on Saturday as the Hoosiers look to take the series outright in game two.