It ain’t over ’til it’s over. And it’s not over yet for Nebraska baseball.
The Huskers (34-13, 31-12 Big Ten) needed to beat top national seed Arkansas (48-11, 22-8 SEC) to keep the season going. Just a day after falling 5-1 to the Razorbacks, Nebraska got revenge with a 5-3 win to force a winner-take-all game Monday.
“I feel like we’ve got a bunch of dirtbags,” Nebraska coach Will Bolt told the Huskers Sports Network after the win. “I feel like we got a bunch of guys that love each other. They love to play.
“They have a huge heart and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Nebraska struck first on Jaxon Hallmark's solo home run in the first inning. The Huskers left multiple other runs on the board with attempts at aggressive base running, but the Razorbacks were ready to throw out runners at home and third.
Arkansas fired back with three runs in the third inning, one off a single and two others on a wild pitch.
In the bottom half, Hallmark added another RBI with a sacrifice fly to score Logan Foster.
In the fifth, Nebraska stormed in front on a Spencer Schwellenbach RBI followed by Griffin Everitt knocking in Hallmark and Schwellenbach.
The Huskers knocked the ball around for 10 hits, but it was the pitching that was most impressive Sunday night in Fayetteville.
Kyle Perry threw a season-high 73 pitches over 4.1 innings, giving up three runs, two earned, on two hits while striking out seven. He turned the ball over to Schwellenbach for the final 4.2 innings. Schwellenbach gave up just one hit and struck out four while keeping the Razorbacks from coming back.
“To be able to hand the ball off to Spence, to see him do what he did, was pretty special,” Bolt said.
Arkansas is one of the top hitting teams in the country, ranking second in home runs and in the top 50 in hits. Through two games against Nebraska this weekend, the Razorbacks have managed just one home run and nine total hits.
Nebraska and Arkansas are set for a 6 p.m. CDT start Monday on ESPN2. The Razorbacks are playing for a third consecutive regional championship. The Huskers are playing to make their first Super Regional since 2005.
“We’re not done,” Bolt said. “This is not what we came here for, to get to the brink of it. We’re gonna continue to give everything we have.
“We’re gonna continue to fight like champions and whatever happens at the end of the day, we can all be proud of it.”