Anderson belts Big Ten record in series finale
Max Anderson became the first player in Big Ten history to hit 15 home runs in conference play, as the Huskers clinched the road series at Purdue with a 6-4 win on Saturday afternoon in West Lafayette, Ind.
Maryland's Benjamin Cowles hit 18 homers in a conference-only schedule in 2021, but Anderson becomes the first Big Ten player with 15-plus home runs in a season with a traditional conference schedule.
With home runs by Anderson and Charlie Fischer, the Big Red stretched its single-season home run record to 95 this season.
Nebraska (31-21-1, 15-9 Big Ten) scored six runs on six hits and two errors, while Purdue (24-29, 11-13 Big Ten) had four runs on 11 hits and an error.
Jackson Brockett pitched 2.2 innings in the start, allowing three runs, zero earned, on four hits with two strikeouts and three walks. Brett Sears tossed two scoreless innings in relief with a pair of strikeouts. Jake Bunz improved to 1-0 on the season after dealing 1.1 one-hit innings. Corbin Hawkins threw two scoreless innings, while Kyle Perry picked up his third save of the season with one inning.
Cole Evans led NU at the plate, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a walk. Anderson was 1-for-3 with a solo homer, while Fischer had a 1-for-4 day with a home run, two RBI and one run. Dylan Carey and Josh Caron had one hit apiece, while Luke Sartori plated a team-high two runs.
The Huskers broke the scoreless tie in the top of the third with Evans' RBI single to left field. Sartori began the inning with a walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch and moved to third on a groundout from Blake Mozley before scoring on Evans' RBI single.
Purdue grabbed a two-run lead in the bottom of the third after a two-out fielding miscue by the Huskers. Jake Parr's RBI single to left scored the tying run, while the Boilermakers added two more with back-to-back walks with the bases loaded.
Nebraska tied the game at three in the top of the fourth with two runs on a pair of hits. Caron ripped a one-out single to center before Fischer blasted a two-run homer to right that cleared the NU bullpen.
Sears and Bunz combined to work around Boilermaker doubles in the fourth and fifth innings to keep it a 3-3 tie with four innings to go.
Anderson broke the tie in the sixth, drilling his 21st homer of the season 372 feet over the wall in right to give the Huskers a 4-3 lead.
The Huskers doubled the lead with a run on one hit in the top of the seventh. Sartori opened the inning with a four-pitch walk and moved to second on Mozley's sacrifice bunt. Evans was plunked on the first pitch he faced to put runners on first and second with one out.
Carey roped a 2-1 pitch back up the middle to score Sartori from second and stretch the lead to 5-3.
The Boilermakers threatened in the bottom of the eighth, but aggressive baserunning ran Purdue into the final out at the plate. A double down the left-field line and infield single would have had runners on first and third with two outs, but Fischer threw out Sam Franco at the plate trying to score from second.
Mozley reached on a two-out four-pitch walk in the top of the ninth and came around to score on a single by Evans that ricocheted off the Boilermaker outfielder trying to field the ball, expanding the lead to 6-3 for the Big Red.
Perry struck out the first two batters he faced in the bottom of the ninth before a single and an NU throwing error placed runners on first and second with two outs. Paul Toetz's RBI single to center brought the Boilermakers within 6-4, but Perry induced a groundout in the next at-bat to clinch the 6-4 road win for the Huskers.
Nebraska is set to play in the Big Ten Baseball Tournament next week in Omaha.