LINCOLN–(NU Athletic Mar. 28)–Will Walsh totaled a career-high 11 strikeouts in seven innings, and Brice Matthews delivered the go-ahead three-run homer in the seventh to lead Nebraska to a 4-1 win vs. North Dakota State at Hawks Field at Haymarket Park on Tuesday night.
Tuesday night’s win is Nebraska’s 400th all-time at Hawks Field, which has been the Huskers’ home ballpark since 2002.
Nebraska (14-8-1) scored four runs on five hits and an error, while the Bison (5-19) were limited to one run, three hits and a pair of errors.
Walsh collected his first collegiate victory while pitching a career-high seven innings. The Redshirt sophomore gave up one run on two hits, surrendering a leadoff single in the first and a two-out single in the fourth. Walsh’s 11 strikeouts are the most by a NU pitcher since Shay Schanaman tallied 11 vs. Maryland on April 11, 2021.
Schanaman pitched the final two innings to record his third save of the season. The Grand Island, Neb., native struck out five NDSU batters and allowed just one hit.
Ben Columbus was the lone Husker with a multi-hit performance, going 2-for-3 with a pair of singles. Matthews went 1-for-4 with a three-run homer in the seventh to pick up his eighth home run of the season. Matthews’ home run extends his hit streak to nine games and his on-base streak to 26 games.
Max Anderson and Gabe Swansen had one hit apiece, while Cole Evans and Casey Burnham scored a run.
NDSU plated its lone run of the night in the opening frame with one hit and a Nebraska error. A leadoff infield single joined with a throwing error placed the leadoff hitter on second. A walk, followed by a stolen base at third gave the Bison a runner on first-and-third situation with one out.
NU picked off the runner at first trying to swipe second, while the NDSU runner at third trotted home on the play to give the Bison an early 1-0 lead.
Walsh struck out five NDSU batters in the next two innings to keep it a 1-0 game heading into the bottom of the third.
The Husker offense pieced together its first threat in the third after Columbus singled up the middle and Burnham was hit by pitch. The pair advanced to second and third on a wild pitch with one out, but the Huskers couldn’t capitalize to score their first run.
Walsh continued his momentum in the next two innings, striking out four in the fourth and fifth innings and surrendering only a two-out single in the fourth.
A pair of hits and an NDSU error allowed the Big Red to score their first run and tie the game at one in the fifth. Swansen led off with a double to left-center and scored in the next at-bat with Columbus’ single to right field. Columbus roped a single to right to place runners on first and third with no outs, but a wild relay throw in from right field escaped the NDSU catcher, allowing Swansen to touch home and Columbus to advance to second.
Walsh retired the next six NDSU batters he faced to send the game into the bottom of the seventh locked in a 1-1 tie.
Evans was plunked on a 1-0 pitch, followed by Burnham reaching on catcher’s interference on a 2-2 count to put runners on first and second with two outs. Following an NDSU pitching change, Matthews blasted a 424-foot three-run homer to left on the first pitch he saw to give the Huskers a 4-1 lead.
Schanaman worked around a leadoff single in the eighth to keep the Bison off the board and preserve the three-run lead. The Husker closer took the mound in the ninth, striking out three and working around a hit batter to pick up his third save of the year and clinch the 4-1 win for Nebraska.
Nebraska hits the road this weekend, as the Huskers face Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Abilene Christian in a doubleheader on Saturday, April 1 in Abilene, Texas. First pitch between the Huskers and Islanders is scheduled for 1 p.m.