Steil and Pitching Staff Lead Huskers to 4-0 Win
ROUND ROCK, Texas (KOLN) - After dropping the series opener on Friday night the Nebraska baseball team rebounded with three straight wins, including a 4-0 victory on Sunday, to take a series from the Purdue Boilermakers at Dell Diamond Stadium.
Following the 6-5 walk-off loss on Friday, Nebraska outscored Purdue 21-2 over the final three games of the series.
Freshman Jack Steil made the most of his first career start on Sunday, going 2-3 with a double, a home run and a three RBIs. Steil’s first career hit was a RBI double in the second and then his two-run homer in the top of the ninth gave NU a cushion heading into the bottom of the frame.
Jake Bunz made his Husker debut on Sunday and tossed 3.0 shutout innings, with five strikeouts and one hit allowed. The left hander from Elkhorn transferred from Hutchinson Community College and was on a pitch count Sunday as he is coming off Tommy John surgery.
Six other Husker pitchers chipped in to finish the shutout, including a shutout ninth from Spencer Schwellenbach in his pitching debut. NU’s pitching staff combined for 13 strikeouts in the series finale.
Purdue starter Jett Jackson went 4.1 innings and struck out 10, while allowing two runs on three hits and three walks.
Nebraska jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a two-out home run off the bat of Spencer Schwellenbach. The junior shortstop lifted a 1-2 offering over the left field wall, Nebraska’s fourth home run of the weekend.
The Huskers added to their lead in the second, again with two outs. Max Anderson drew one of his three walks on the day to start the frame and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt from Efry Cervantes. Jackson got Griffin Everitt to fly out and was in position to strand Anderson, but Steil stepped in and lined a RBI double down the left-field line, putting the Huskers up 2-0. Joe Acker then kept the rally going with a walk before Jackson notched a strikeout to end the NU threat.
Bunz retired six straight Boilermakers to start the game, including three strikeouts, before he walked the leadoff batter in the bottom of the third. Bunz responded with a strikeout, then gave up a single and got a fly out. A two-out passed ball put two runners in scoring position and Bunz walked Evan Albrecht to load the bases with two outs. Purdue’s No. 3 hitter Ben Nisle stepped in with a chance to get the Boilermakers on the board, but Bunz escaped the jam with a strikeout to keep the Huskers in front, 2-0.
The bats for both teams went quite over the next three innings and then Purdue put together another opportunity in the seventh. Skyler Hunter worked a two-out walk that loaded the bases, but again NU’s pitching staff ended the threat as Cam Wynne struck out Albrecht looking.
Purdue had the tying run on base in the eighth following a pair of out-singles, but Jaxon Hallmark escaped the jam with an inning-ending 6-3 double play.
Holding a 2-0 lead, NU’s offense cashed in a leadoff walk to Cervantes when Steil blasted a no-doubter into the left field upper deck to give the Huskers a 4-0 lead. After putting a few insurance runs on the board Schwellenbach struck out the first two batters in the bottom of the ninth, gave up an infield single and ended the game with a line out.
The Huskers will be back in action next weekend at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., where they’ll play two games each against the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Ohio State Buckeyes.
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