Nebraska Cornhuskers: Baseball digs hole it can’t get out of against Gophers

Brice Matthews of the Nebraska Cornhuskers rounds third base(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Brice Matthews of the Nebraska Cornhuskers rounds third base(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

The Nebraska Cornhuskers baseball had another bad loss on Friday night in what is becoming much too much of a pattern late in the season.

At a time, the Nebraska baseball team looked like it had a squad that might go down as one of its best in the last couple of decades. And then, something happened. And it’s pretty clear even head coach Will Bolt isn’t sure what that something is.

It might be as simple as a weak and thin Nebraska Cornhuskers pitching staff was exposed. Could just be there’s enough film of the Huskers hurlers that batters know how to attack them now.

Certainly when Minnesota, who came into Friday as the worst offensive team in the entire Big Ten manages to score 9 runs, something or someone has been figured out. The victory improves the Golden Gophers to 12-28 on the season.

The “scoring explosion” marked the 6th time Minnesota has scored 9 or more runs all year. It’s the third time they’ve done it in a conference game. But it’s not even that the Gophers managed to score more than they had any right to do.

It’s how they won on Friday night.

The Huskers were, for what seems like far too often these days, trailing almost from the start. They were down 2-0 after the top of the first and trailed 4-1 going into the bottom of the second. The Nebraska Cornhuskers scored three in the bottom of the third to tie it and then the two teams battled to a standstill for a couple of frames.

In the sixth inning, Nebraska baseball looked like it might get the win, scoring a run to take a 5-4 lead all the way to the ninth. When the wheels went flying off the wagon. Schay Schanaman, who was very good in his first two innings of work just couldn’t go three. He loaded the bases before being lifted for Jake Bunz.

Bunz promptly allowed Minnesota to come all the way back and take a 9-5 lead. That lead turned into a 9-7 win as Brice Matthews struck out looking with two on.

The Nebraska Cornhuskers are now 22-16-1 on the season and just 7-6 in the Big Ten. Any chance at an at-large bid to the postseason is long gone. So too, does it appear that a chance at a regular season Big Ten title.

If the 2023 season isn’t going to be its second disappointing campaign in a row, Will Bolt and company need to figure out what’s gone wrong. They need to do it fast. The problem is there’s no indication the head coach or his assistants are up to the task.