Huskers hit 5 home runs, top Arizona State
Nebraska’s offense exploded for 17 hits and five home runs, as the Huskers overcame a 5-0 deficit to knock off 12th-ranked Arizona State, 18-10, in the series finale at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Freshman Leighton Banjoff blasted two home runs and tallied six RBIs in a 4-for-6 effort. Spencer Schwellenbach also produced four hits, while Jaxon Hallmark compiled three hits, including a home run, to help lead NU’s offense. Cam Chick and Joe Acker also homered, as NU (2-7) salvaged the series against the Sun Devils.
Sophomore left-hander Cade Povich, making his third start of the season, recorded seven strikeouts and didn’t allow a walk in 5.0 innings of work. On the season, Povich has a team-high 22 strikeouts and only one walk. Paul Tillotson came out of the bullpen for 3.0 innings, allowing a pair of runs, before Trey Kissack pitched the final 1.0 inning in scoreless fashion. As a pitching staff, the Huskers didn’t allow any walks on Sunday.
In the opening frame, Aaron Palensky drew a two-out walk, but was NU’s lone baserunner in a scoreless inning for the Big Red. In the bottom of the first, Trevor Hauver hit a solo home run to give ASU the early 1-0 edge.
The Huskers were retired in order in the top of the second on a pop-out and two groundouts. In the bottom half, Arizona State added four runs to build a 5-0 lead. Five of the first six Sun Devil batters reached, with four hits and a hit-by-pitch, before NU recorded back-to-back outs to end the frame.
Nebraska responded with six runs in the top of the third to take a 6-5 lead. Acker reached on an error in the leadoff spot before advancing to second on Hallmark’s base hit. Schwellenbach loaded the bases with an infield single. Palensky drew a walk to bring in one run before Roskam was hit-by-pitch to drive in another run. With the bases still loaded, Banjoff launched a grand slam to left field for his first career home run. Povich tallied one strikeout and forced a pair of groundouts in the bottom of the third, as ASU went down in order.
NU added two runs in the top of the fourth to extend its lead to 8-5. Acker drew a leadoff walk before advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt. Chick also drew a walk before Schwellenbach drove in one run with an RBI single. Palensky brought in another run with his sacrifice fly to center field. ASU responded with three runs in the bottom of the fourth to tie the score at 8-8. Spencer Torkelson hit a three-run home run after two of the first three ASU batters singled.
Nebraska’s offense continued the onslaught with seven runs in the top of the fifth to build a 15-8 lead. NU annihilated three home runs during the frame, the first time since March 13, 2010 against Houston Baptist that the Huskers jacked three bombs in an inning. Banjoff launched a leadoff shot for his second homer of the game. After back-to-back outs, Acker smashed his first career home run. Hallmark singled before Chick drove him in with a two-run missile. Schwellenbach and Palensky each singled before scoring on Roskam’s two-RBI double. Banjoff, batting for the second time in the inning, doubled to drive in Roskam. In the bottom of the fifth, Povich allowed a leadoff double, but forced outs to each of the next three batters to keep ASU from scoring.
In the top of the sixth, NU went down in order with two groundouts and a strikeout. The Huskers responded on defense by retiring all three Sun Devil batters in the bottom half of the frame.
Nebraska scored one run in the top of the seventh to extend its lead to 16-8. Chick hit a leadoff single before stealing second base. After Palensky reached on an intentional walk, Chick scored on a wild pitch. Banjoff reached on an error, but he and Palensky were left stranded on second and third. In the bottom of the seventh, ASU scored two runs to cut the deficit to 16-10. After a leadoff double, Hunter Swift hit a two-run home run before three consecutive flyouts.
In the top of the eighth, NU tacked on two runs to take an 18-10 advantage. After Mojo Hagge drew a leadoff walk, Hallmark blasted a two-run home run to bring him in. Schwellenbach singled during the frame, but was left stranded. In the bottom of the eighth, all three Sun Devil hitters were retired.
Banjoff and Hagge each singled in the top of the ninth, but NU left two runners stranded in a scoreless frame. ASU managed a single in the bottom of the ninth, but a flyout and double play groundout ended the game.
The Huskers return to action next weekend when they open their home schedule with a four-game series against Columbia at Hawks Field. Tickets for the series, which begins Friday at 1:35 p.m. (CT), can be purchased by visiting Huskers.com/tickets.