Huskers Crush No. 21 Baylor, 12-4
Waco, Texas – The Nebraska baseball team (5-6) scored four runs in the first inning and never looked back in a 12-4 win over No. 21 Baylor at Baylor Ballpark on Friday night.
Senior right-hander Matt Waldron, making his second start of the season, matched a career high with eight strikeouts in 7.0 innings of work and didn’t allow a walk. Chad Luensmann came out of the bullpen to throw the final 2.0 innings and notched two strikeouts.
Offensively, Angelo Altavilla homered twice as part of a five-RBI performance. Luke Roskam set a career high with four hits, while tallying four RBIs of his own.
In the opening frame, Nebraska smashed its first two home runs of the season. Altavilla and Roskam each blistered two-run shots to help NU take a 4-0 lead after the top of the first. Spencer Schwellenbach drew a leadoff walk, while Aaron Palensky extended his team-best hitting streak to 11 games, as the only Husker to record a hit in every game this season. Baylor managed a double in the bottom of the first, but left the runner stranded in a scoreless frame.
Colby Gomes nearly hit a leadoff home run in the top of the second, but it was caught at the left field wall. Jaxon Hallmark singled, but was picked off. Schwellenbach reached on an error, but was left stranded after a strikeout ended the inning. Waldron recorded three strikeouts in the bottom of the second, but Baylor got on the scoreboard with one run. The Bears managed two doubles during the inning, but left a runner on third.
Both teams went down in order in the third inning. Waldron added a strikeout to his tally for the night.
Nebraska managed two baserunners in the top of the fourth on a walk and hit-by-pitch, but couldn’t bring them in. After Gomes snagged a line drive for the first out of the bottom of the fourth, NU turned a double play following a Baylor single.
Nebraska plated three runs in the top of the fifth to build a 7-1 lead. Mojo Hagge drew a one-out walk before Palensky was hit-by-pitch. Roskam laced his 95th career hit to drive in Hagge. In the following at-bat, Joe Acker blistered a two-RBI double against the left field wall. Blake Peterson was hit-by-pitch, but he and Acker remained stranded after back-to-back outs. Baylor scratched out one run as NU committed one error in the bottom of the fifth to cut the lead to 7-2.
Nebraska loaded the bases in the top of the sixth, but couldn’t add to its 7-2 lead. The first two batters walked before back-to-back strikeouts and a Roskam infield single. A fielder’s choice ended the inning. Baylor managed a leadoff double in the bottom of the sixth, but three consecutive outs left him stranded.
For the second time on the night, Gomes got robbed at the wall, this time in right field. The other two Husker hitters in the top of the seventh produced outs. Baylor’s first two hitters in the bottom of the seventh had base hits, but a strikeout and double play ended a scoreless inning.
NU tacked on two runs in the top of the eighth to build a 9-2 lead. Hagge sliced a two-out single before Palensky bombed a triple to drive him in. Roskam picked up his career-high fourth hit of the game and fourth RBI of the night when he drove in Palensky with a single. Acker also contributed a base hit, but he and Roskam were left stranded. Baylor had one single in the bottom of the eighth, but the Bears failed to bring him in.
In the top of the ninth, Nebraska tallied three runs to extend its lead to 12-2. Altavilla annihilated his second home run of the night, a three-run shot, to drive in Gomes and Hallmark after the two of the them drew walks. Baylor scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth.
The Huskers and Bears continue their three-game series on Saturday at 3:05 p.m. (CT).