Huskers Close Season with 11-8 Win Over Illinois
Champaign, Ill. – A six-run seventh inning helped Nebraska finish its season with an 11-8 victory over Illinois at Illinois Field on Saturday afternoon.
Junior Angelo Altavilla led the Husker offense with a 4-for-5 performance with two RBIs, two runs scored and three stolen bases. Zac Repinski and Keegan Watson each homered during NU’s scoring barrage in the seventh frame.
Senior right-hander Matt Warren, making his 12th start of the season, went 5.0 innings and allowed three runs on three hits, while recording two strikeouts. Nate Fisher (0.2 inning), Andrew Abrahamowicz (1.1) and Jake Hohensee (2.0) each made relief appearances for the Huskers. Abrahamowicz earned the win, while Hohensee collected his team-high 13th save of the season.
In the top of the first, the Huskers went down in order with two flyouts and one strikeout. Illinois took a 1-0 lead after the bottom of the first. Bren Spillane drew a one-out walk and scored on Michael Massey’s RBI single. Warren struck out the next Illini batter.
Altavilla hit a two-out single before stealing second, but remained stranded when a strikeout ended the second frame for the Big Red. Illinois added two runs in the bottom of the second to build a 3-0 advantage. Grant Van Scoy drew a two-out walk before Jack Yalowitz homered to right field.
Nebraska managed two hits in the top of the third, but left two on base in a scoreless frame. Mojo Hagge hit a one-out single, but was thrown out at second when Scott Schreiber reached on a fielder’s choice. Schreiber made it to second when Jesse Wilkening singled, but both runners were stranded when a flyout ended the inning. The Fighting Illini threatened with two baserunners with two outs in the bottom of the third, but the score remained 3-0.
NU tied the game at 3-3 with three runs in the top of the fourth. The first four Husker batters reached base, as Repinski drew a walk before Luke Roskam, Altavilla and Jaxon Hallmark singled. Altavilla’s hit brought in Repinski and Hallmark’s hit drove in Roskam. Hagge grounded out, but earned an RBI as Altavilla scored on the play. The Illini went down in order in the bottom of the fourth.
The Huskers took a 5-3 lead in the top of the fifth with two runs. Wilkening laced a leadoff double before advancing to third on a groundout. Repinski’s sacrifice fly drove in Wilkening. Roskam blistered a double and scored on Altavilla’s RBI single. Warren retired all three Illini batters in the bottom of the fifth with one strikeout.
Nebraska went down 1-2-3 in the top of the sixth. Illinois retook the lead at 7-5 with four runs in the bottom of the sixth. The first four Illini batters reached base and also scored with two singles, one double and a walk.
The Huskers responded with six runs in the top of the seventh to take an 11-7 lead. Brison Cronenbold drew a leadoff walk before Repinski blasted his third home run of the season. After a flyout, Altavilla and Hallmark hit back-to-back singles before Watson blistered his first career home run to bring in both baserunners. Schreiber walked before scoring on Wilkening’s second double of the game. In the bottom of the seventh, Spillane hit a solo home run to cut the Husker lead to 11-8 before three consecutive outs.
Roskam drew a one-out walk before a double play ended a scoreless top of the eighth for the Big Red. Illinois’ leadoff hitter walked, but he remained stranded after three consecutive outs.
Hagge singled in the top of the ninth, but the other three Husker batters in the inning struck out. Illinois’ leadoff hitter walked in the bottom of the ninth, but a double play followed by a groundout ended the game.
The Huskers finish the season with a 24-28 record, including an 8-14 mark in Big Ten play.