LINCOLN–(NU Athletics Mar. 26)–Max Anderson and Gabe Swansen slugged two homers in Nebraska’s 10-7 setback vs. Illinois in the series finale on Sunday afternoon at Hawks Field at Haymarket Park.
Nebraska (13-8-1, 2-1 Big Ten) tallied seven runs on 12 hits and an error, while the Fighting Illini (11-9, 1-2) recorded 10 runs on 14 hits and one error. With the series win, the Huskers have won a weekend series against four consecutive opponents, with series wins against Illinois, Nicholls, Illinois State and South Alabama.
Michael Garza dropped to 1-3 on the year, allowing six runs on seven hits in two innings of action. Jackson Brockett surrendered two runs on three hits with four strikeouts in 3.2 innings of relief. Will Rizzo made his home debut with the Huskers, allowing two runs on two hits and recording one out. Jake Bunz and Schanaman teamed up to throw three scoreless innings for the Big Red.
Swansen led the Huskers at the plate, going 3-for-4 with two homers, three RBI and a pair of runs. Anderson was 2-for-4 with two home runs, two RBI and two runs. Anderson’s two-homer game is the third of his career, including his second one of the season.
Brice Matthews and Cole Evans pieced together two-hit games, while Dylan Carey, Ben Columbus and Efry Cervantes recorded one hit each.
Illinois raced out to a 3-0 lead in the first to grab its first lead of the weekend. A solo home run by Branden Comia put the visitors out front, while a two-run homer from Ryan Moerman made it a 3-0 game.
The Fighting Illini doubled the lead in the second inning with three runs on four hits to grab an early 6-0 advantage.
Everitt reached on an errant throw to begin the bottom of the second, setting up Swansen’s one-out two-run homer to left to plate NU’s first two runs of the day. Anderson brought the Huskers within three in the third after lining a first-pitch solo home run down the right-field line.
A leadoff walk, followed by a flyout and groundout had a runner on third with two outs in the fifth for the Illini, before Coltin Quagliano’s RBI single to right center had Illinois out front 7-3. The Fighting Illini blew the game open in the sixth, scoring three runs on three hits. A double, followed by a wild pitch and a passed ball scored the first sixth-inning run ,while an RBI double and RBI single put the Illini ahead 10-3.
Nebraska climbed with five in the seventh, scoring a pair of runs off three hits. Swansen opened the half inning with his second homer of the day to left. Back-to-back singles from Cervantes and Matthews placed runners on first and second with no outs. In the next at-bat, Carey smacked a fly ball to right and appeared to potentially have a three-run homer, but a wall-crashing catch by the Illini right fielder kept the Big Red off the board.
Anderson was plunked with one out to load the bases, while Caron drew a walk on a 3-1 count to bring home Cervantes and cut the deficit to 10-5.
Two singles from Columbus and Swansen had runners on first and third with one out in the eighth, before an RBI fielder’s choice scored Columbus and made it a four-run game after eight innings.
Anderson lifted a one-out solo homer over the wall in right-center for his second home run of the day to bring NU within three in the ninth. Evans later reached on a two-out single, but the Illini held on for a 10-7 win in the series finale.
Nebraska returns to action next Tuesday, as the Huskers welcome North Dakota State to Hawks Field on Tuesday, March 28. First pitch between the Huskers and Bison is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.