Winning close games key for Nebraska moving forward

LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska baseball team has recently struggled to close out games. After being ranked for the first time since 2021, the Huskers have played just average baseball in their past 12 games. After a tough loss in Omaha to Creighton, the wheels have since unraveled.

In that Creighton game, Nebraska never led. After the Huskers went down 5-0 early, the early season game plan of coming from behind nearly worked. However, the pitching began its downward trend. Will Walsh and Tucker Timmerman were each tagged for two runs in the game that the Husker offense couldn’t overcome.

The Huskers’ pitching stats later became inflated following a 9-3 home loss against Ohio State on April 7. The Huskers later yielded a whopping 13 runs to Kansas before getting stunned in Piscataway, New Jersey, after blowing a 6-3 lead in the ninth inning.

Aside from starting pitcher standout Brett Sears, the Huskers’ pitching has struggled to limit damage. The Nebraska pitching staff continued its poor trend of giving up leads after the Huskers dropped two of three to Rutgers after they led every game. Drew Christo was uncharacteristically hit around, while Walsh and Jalen Worthley were also scored against.

However, the bigger issue resides in the inability to close games. As mentioned before, the 7-6 loss to Rutgers was alarming. After leading 6-2 entering the eighth inning, it makes the loss a lot tougher to swallow.

Nebraska manager Will Bolt is also aware of the lack of wins after often leading games.

“I guess the positive part of it is that I think in the last five games we have led in every game and we have scored first in every game,” Bolt said. “When we are finishing those games off, what it has looked like earlier in the season was we were either scoring to extend leads or we were stopping the other team from scoring in the middle innings.”

The Huskers’ struggles have continued to linger as they were stunned in the ninth inning against Creighton on April 16. With Nebraska one out away from securing a 3-2 victory over the Blue Jays, Kyle Perry loaded the bases and Rans Sanders gave up the go-ahead and game-winning grand slam.

“We’ve had a couple of games recently that have come down to the last inning, and that has been pretty tough to handle,” Bolt said.

The positive takeaway from the loss to Creighton was that several pitchers found success. Caleb Clark dealt two clean innings while striking out four while Ty Horn and Tucker Timmerman threw scoreless innings. The clean outing against the Blue Jays gives Bolt confidence the bullpen may find more success.

“I think the good news is that we had quite a few guys on Tuesday that are leaving there feeling really positive about how they performed,” Bolt said. “Some guys that have been good for us and maybe had been scuffling so that part of it I think will help solidify the middle innings.”

The Huskers (25-12) secured a series win over Maryland Sunday, but a big task lies ahead. Nebraska will host the Kansas Jayhawks, who look to avenge the high-scoring loss earlier this season, before hosting Big Ten Rival Iowa this weekend.

Noah Douglas
Noah Douglas
Noah Douglas is a junior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, majoring in Journalism and Sports Media. He has previously covered high school and collegiate athletics at the Lincoln Journal Star. Follow him on X (Twitter) @DouglasNoha.

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