Hoosiers hold off Cornhusker rally

Indiana took down conference foe Nebraska 8-7 in game 1 of their 3-game series with the Cornhuskers.

by Garrod Creech • @creech_garrod • April 22, 2022

Jack Perkins started the weekend strong for the Hoosiers with a 1-2-3 first and six scoreless innings before running out of gas in the seventh. Nebraska had no trouble getting on base after that first inning, but they struggled to move runners. Perkins walked four, hit a couple guys, and gave up four hits; he also struck out 8 and no Cornhuskers made it past second base prior to the seventh.

Their freshman core served as the engine of Indiana’s offense Friday night. Josh Pyne sparked a two-out rally in the bottom of the first with a warning track double, extending his on-base streak to 27 games in the process. Mathew Ellis followed with a walk and Brock Tibbitts doubled to put give the Hoosiers an early 1-0 edge. The Hoosier offense forced 30 pitches in the inning but couldn’t cash in on loaded bases.

Josh Pyne

Pyne’s second plate appearance kick-started another rally in the third. An error put him on first, Ellis was hit by a pitch and Tibbitts singled through the infield to give the Hoosiers a two-run lead. Carter Mathison followed with a double of his own that knocked in Ellis, and a Tyler Doanes sac fly netted the Hoosiers one more to push the lead to four. In the fourth, two singles and a monster Pyne home run made it 7-0. Pyne, Tibbitts and Mathison combined to go 6-11 with six RBIs and score six runs.

Max Johnson vs Nebraska
Freshman Max Johnson started in place of the injured Phillip Glasser

“You know, I think that with Brock and Carter in the lineup, and now Max [Johnson], its a threat. Brock has a really good bat. Carter has a really good bat, and so they have to shift us. They have to play back on the wall which opens up spots for other people on the team,” Pyne said after the game. “They have to pitch us differently now, and so I think it really does help the lineup and help what pitches other guys are seeing.”

Flash forward to the top of the seventh. An HBP and two soft hits gave Nebraska their first run of the game. With two on, Perkin’s 118th pitch of the night was hammered over the left-field wall, making it 7-4. Perkins’s control wasn’t in the outing wasn’t perfect, but he made difficult pitches in difficult spots routinely leading up to that final batter.

“I mean you go six scoreless and you go into the seventh and… Obviously, the competitive nature in me wants to go that seventh and get through it. Last week I did. This week I go back out there with the same mentality, same thought process, ya know, thinking I’m gonna get through it. Some unfortunate things happen, ya know, a three-run homer happens, but that’s part of baseball. The failure side of it that you have to be able to overcome and get through,” Perkins said.

Tyler Doanes tripled home Mathison in the bottom of the seventh to give Indiana some breathing room, but the Cornhuskers refused to go quietly. Grant Holderfield, after finishing off the top of the seventh, pitched a scoreless eighth and opened the ninth but was pulled after giving up two quick hits. Braydon Tucker, inheriting the two baserunners and 1 out, got one quick one himself, but Nebraska’s Brice Matthews took him deep to dead center to make it a one-run game. With the bases cleared though, their rally died. Tucker held on to strike out the next guy and the Hoosiers claimed a much-needed B1G win.

Braydon Tucker earned his fourth save of the season

The win pushes IU to 3-7 in conference play and 15-22 on the season. The team will be back at Bart Kaufman Field Saturday at 2pm ET hoping to make it two conference victories in a row. Bradley Brehmer is expected to get the start. The game should be available on B1G+, but fans can follow the iubase.com team for updates.