Nebraska’s pitchers started the job, and its hitters finished it.
The Nebraska baseball team won both games of Friday’s doubleheader over Nicholls, first emerging victorious in a 2-1 pitcher’s duel before exploding for a 17-1 win soon after. Both games were played on Kansas State’s campus after cold temperatures and snow forced the series out of Lincoln.
For one day, Manhattan, Kansas, was a worthy home for the Huskers (11-5-1). Left-hander Emmett Olson made quick work of the Nicholls lineup in a planned seven-inning contest that lasted just 1 hour and 17 minutes. Charlie Fischer got the Huskers on the board early with a first-inning RBI single and Dylan Carey added an insurance run with an RBI knock in the bottom of the sixth.
For those first six innings, it seemed that one run was all Olson needed as he kept Nicholls off the board. However, a bases-loaded situation in the top of the seventh provided a few tense moments as Olson tried to pitch out of the jam.
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Head coach Will Bolt stuck by his ace and Olson rewarded him with a sacrifice fly, game-ending strikeout and narrow 2-1 win.
“It was his game, I felt like at that point,” Bolt said to the Huskers Radio Network. “The (sacrifice) fly to center field, that was the game right there. If he walks him or gives up a hit, then I’m going to go to the bullpen. I thought he did a fantastic job of finishing, stayed in the moment and made some huge pitches.”
Amidst the strong outing from Olson, who struck out seven and picked up his third win of the year, it was a ho-hum start for Nebraska at the plate. All seven of Nebraska’s hits were singles, and the Huskers never produced a big inning.
“There wasn’t any thump in there, and that’s kind of what we’d been accustomed to with the extra-base hits,” Bolt said.
Nebraska saved the thump for game two.
A pair of Nicholls errors, a Josh Caron RBI single and Max Anderson solo home run put Nebraska up 4-0 within the three innings, and the Huskers were far from done. As soon as Nebraska got to the Nicholls bullpen, it exploded with a seven-run fifth inning followed by another five runs in the next frame.
“We just set the tone offensively from the get-go,” Bolt said.
Nebraska scored seven runs on just three hits in the fifth inning as it converted multiple bases-loaded situations created by walks. The exclamation point came in the sixth when Brice Matthews uncorked a grand slam and Anderson soon followed with a solo home run, his second of the game.
Both Matthews and Anderson have been red-hot at the top of Nebraska’s order — both are batting around .400 — and they combined for 9 of Nebraska’s 15 RBIs in the win.
Jace Kaminska brought his season record to 4-0 by allowing one run in five innings of work, while relievers Jackson Brockett, Jake Bunz and Will Rizzo ensured Nicholls ended the day with a total of just two runs scored.
Friday’s contests brought home NU’s 10th and 11th wins of the year. The Huskers didn’t reach that mark until the first week of April last season.
After the conclusion of the game, Nebraska also announced it will face Nicholls in a series finale at 2 p.m. on Sunday, a game that will also be held in Manhattan.