Huskers Come Up Short in Illinois Opener
Lincoln, Neb. – The Nebraska baseball team (22-15, 11-5 Big Ten) was held to five hits in an 8-1 loss to Illinois at Hawks Field on Friday night.
Senior right-handed pitcher Matt Waldron, making his eighth start of the season, suffered his first loss in 2019 after a 5-0 start. He went 6.0 innings, giving up six runs (five earned runs) in the first three frames before holding Illinois scoreless for the next three innings. Kyle Perry tossed 2.2 innings of relief before Tyler Martin pitched the final 0.1 inning.
Illinois pounced early with one run on two hits in the top of the first. NU was held hitless in the bottom of the first before the Fighting Illini added three runs on three hits in the top of the second.
In the bottom of the second, NU managed runners on second and third after Joe Acker and Jaxon Hallmark each walked, but they were left stranded in a scoreless frame for the Big Red.
Illinois plated two more runs in the top of the third on three hits to build a 6-0 advantage before Aaron Palensky managed the Huskers’ first hit of the game in the bottom of the third.
The two teams were each held scoreless during the middle three innings. In the bottom of the seventh, Colby Gomes drew a leadoff walk and advanced to third on Angelo Altavilla’s single to right center. Spencer Schwellenbach drove in Gomes when he reached on a fielder’s choice. It marked NU’s lone run of the game.
In the top of the ninth, Illinois added two more runs on four hits. In all, the Fighting Illini managed 17 hits. Illinois improves to 27-13 overall and 7-6 in the Big Ten.
The series continues on Saturday at Hawks Field, starting at 2 p.m. (CT) and will be televised on NET.