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The Nebraska baseball (13-5) team came from behind to take game three of the weekend series against Illinois (8-10) 12-7. This win gave the Huskers a 2-1 series win over the Illini and put them back in first place in the Big Ten.

Out to start for NU was Shay Schanaman who couldn’t keep the dangerous Illinois offense from taking control. In the bottom of the first inning the Fighting Illini got on the scoreboard with a two-run home run from Branden Comia. With the Big Red offense struggling to put together runs early, Illinois continued to put the pressure on and scored three more times in the bottom of the third inning. Schanaman was done after just two and two-thirds after giving up four hits for five runs and in to relieve him was Koty Frank.

On the offensive side, things started to heat up in the fourth inning. Jaxon Hallmark led off the inning with a solo home run to put Nebraska on the board, and two at-bats later Cam Chick hit an inside the park home run that brought the Huskers closer.

The top of the sixth inning was the turning point of this game. NU started out fast, at the time trailing by four runs. The lead-off batter got on board, and Spencer Schwellenbach sent one over the left field wall to cut the deficit to just two runs. The Big Red then loaded the bases, and with two outs Brice Matthews stepped up to the plate. The freshman sent a ball to the wall for a base-clearing double that put Nebraska ahead for the first time in the game. Joe Acker then brought in two runs with a home run in the next at-bat. Seven hits for seven runs in the inning changed the game and gave the Huskers the advantage.

With help now from the offense, Koty Frank was doing work out of the bullpen. The junior pitched three and two-thirds innings while giving up four hits for two runs. Frank’s day was done after that and out came Jake Bunz to try and maintain the lead. The junior pitched just two-thirds of an inning in the eight and retired the side giving up just one hit.

In the top of the eighth inning the NU offense put on a show with Brice Matthews getting on via a walk, then advancing to second with a stolen base. Acker then moved him to third with a base hit and Matthews stole home after a lazy throw from the catcher back to the pitcher. Two more hits in the inning scored two more runs for the Big Red, and that was all they needed.

Spencer Schwellenbach did it once again from the mound after having an impressive day batting. The junior went 2-5 from the plate with three RBI including a home run. However, in the eighth inning, he went in to close the game out as a pitcher and pitched two full innings giving up just one hit and no runs. Schwellenbach struck out three batters and showed his versatility in the process.

The Nebraska offense was nothing short of impressive, and they once again didn’t back down after going behind. The baserunning and bats kept the pressure on the Illini with 16 hits combining for 12 runs. The Huskers stayed aggressive with three stolen bases, including one stealing home. This season the offense has seen three grand slams, an inside the park home run, a stolen home plate and a suicide squeeze bunt. Head coach Will Bolt is playing an aggressive style of offense, and so far it is paying off.

Shay Schanaman did not have his best stuff in this game, and that forced NU to go to the bullpen after just two and two-thirds innings. Because of this, the Big Red had to trust that their relievers could carry them through this game. The bullpen did just that and Koty Frank was the first one to do so with three and two-thirds innings pitched. Frank managed to limit damage and gave up four hits for two runs while the offense started to take over. Following him, both Jake Bunz and Spencer Schwellenbach gave up no runs and one hit each. The bullpen needs to help out the starters when they struggle and it did more than enough in this one.

After taking this series against Illinois, Nebraska will head back home to Haymarket Park next weekend for a three-game series against Maryland. The Huskers will start off the series on Friday with first pitch scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Saturday’s start time is 2:00 p.m. and Sunday is scheduled for 12:00 p.m.

All three games can be streamed on BTN+ and heard on Husker Sports Network. Saturday’s game will also be on NET Nebraska.

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