LINCOLN–(NU Athletics May 14)–Nebraska wrapped up its home slate this season with a three-game sweep of Penn State, as the Huskers recorded an 8-5 win over the Nittany Lions on Senior Day at Hawks Field at Haymarket Park.
Nebraska (29-20-1, 13-8 Big Ten) scored eight runs on nine hits and two errors, while Penn State (24-22, 6-14 Big Ten) had five runs on 10 hits.
Will Walsh pitched four innings in the start, allowing three runs, two earned, on five hits with two strikeouts. Corbin Hawkins moved to 3-0 on the season after dealing 2.1 innings in relief. Hawkins surrendered two runs, one earned, on five hits with three strikeouts. Shay Schanaman threw a hitless inning, while Kyle Perry collected his second save of the season after tossing 1.2 hitless innings on Sunday.
Gabe Swansen led the Huskers at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a double, home run, five RBI and a run. Max Anderson was 3-for-4 with a double, RBI, two runs and a walk. Cole Evans went 2-for-3 with a double and two runs, while Josh Caron had a 1-for-4 day with a solo home run. Dylan Carey was 1-for-2 with a pair of sacrifice hits, and Brice Matthews drew two walks to stretch his on-base streak to 53 games.
A pair of two-out hits in the opening frame, including a double down the left-field line that ricocheted off third base placed runners on second and third for the Nittany Lions. PSU grabbed an early one-run lead after an errant two-out throwing error by Matthews.
The Huskers responded immediately with three runs on two hits in the bottom of the first to hold a two-run advantage through the first. Matthews led off the inning with a four-pitch walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Casey Burnham.
Anderson roped a double to left to plate Matthews and later tagged up from second to score on Swansen’s sacrifice fly to deep center, giving the Big Red a 2-1 lead. Caron doubled the lead with a solo blast into the left-field berm for his seventh homer of the season.
Walsh followed the three-run inning from the NU offense by retiring the side in the top of the second. The Husker offense went back to work, loading the bases with singles from Evans and Carey and a second walk to Matthews. Burnham was plunked for the 19th time this season to score Evans and give the Huskers a 4-1 lead.
The Nittany Lions crawled back within a run in the top of the fourth. Grant Norris led off the inning with a single up the middle, setting up Josh Spiegel’s two-run homer that sailed over the wall in right field.
Two walks and a sacrifice bunt by Carey had runners on second and third with one out for the Husker offense in the fourth, but PSU induced a pair of lineouts up the middle to escape the jam and keep it a one-run game.
Anderson began the bottom of the fifth with a first-pitch single to center before Swansen drilled a 1-2 pitch to right for his 16th home run of the season to stretch the lead to 6-3.
A pair of singles had runners on first and second for the Nittany Lions with one out in the top of the seventh. A stolen base at third and a wild throw that landed in left field allowed Kyle Hannon to jog on home. Another single, followed by an RBI groundout from Bobby Marsh brought the visitors back within a run for the second time on the afternoon.
Schanaman and Perry combined to shut down PSU in the top of the eighth before the NU offense tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth to extend the lead to 8-5.
Evans opened the inning with a double down the left-field line and moved to third on Carey’s sacrifice bunt. Burnham drew a walk on full count, followed by an intentional walk to Anderson to load the bases with two outs. Swansen came through for the Huskers by smacking a two-RBI double to left, plating Evans and Burnham.
Perry retired the Nittany Lions in order in the ninth to collect his second save of the season and clinch the series sweep for the Huskers.
Nebraska hits the road for the final series of the regular-season, as the Huskers venture to Purdue for a three-game series on Thursday-Saturday, May 18-20 in West Lafayette, Ind.