LINCOLN – The Nebraska Baseball team (7-6) bounced back nicely Friday at Haymarket Park with a 4-0 win over Cal Poly (6-8).
The Huskers tied the series at 1-1. The win was propelled by senior starting pitcher Luis Alvarado, who had his longest outing of the season.
Alvarado threw 115 pitches in seven innings, while striking out eight batters and only walking one to put the cherry on top of his first win this year .
“Being at 115 in the first time in a lot of years, probably the first time in my life, gotta take it easy,” Alvarado said. “But I feel pretty good. I felt pretty comfortable throwing the fast ball. They’re a good team with good hitters. Our plan worked. I felt pretty good.”
Freshman right-hander Paul Tillitson came in after Alvarado to toss the final two innings. Tillitson earned his first save of the season, while giving up only two hits, one walk and striking out one batter.
“It starts on the mound like we always talk about,” head coach Darin Erstad said. “Luis was sharp, and Paul did a nice job behind him. We took care of the baseball. I mean, that’s the foundation of how we play. So, it was good to see them bounce back. Overall, just a nice solid game.”
Alvarado’s and Tillitson’s performances helped Nebraska’s depleted bullpen tremendously, with two games coming up tomorrow, three pitchers out for the year, and two more still unavailable. The Huskers also used six pitchers in their Friday loss.
“It’s just the cards we’re dealt right now,” Erstad said. “If anything goes a little sideways in a game like this, you’re starting to look at how we’re going to fill the innings. We’re still going to be thinking about that, but that was just a huge job by Alvarado to pitch like he did and for Paul to go out there and finish it off. That’s obviously a huge boost for us right now.”
Offensively, Nebraska notched nine hits. Jesse Wilkening and Angelo Altavilla each went 2-of-4 at the plate and scored a run. Wilkening’s run came in the form of a single-shot homer in the bottom of the eighth to pad the Huskers’ lead.
The Huskers also had two youngsters in the bottom of the batting order. Freshman Gunner Hellstrom made his first career start as the designated hitter batting eighth, while sophomore center fielder Joe Acker batted ninth. Each one of them were able to notch a hit.
Hallmark’s RBI-single in the the second inning was his first career hit. Acker meanwhile scored only his second run of the season. In the top of the third, Acker led off with a single, proceeded to steal second, reached third on a sacrifice and scored on a wild pitch to put the Huskers on the board first.
“Just nice to see them contribute,” Erstad said. “We’re going to need all of the pieces. You try and get them some reps. They’re ready. It’s just a matter of getting them in there. I just like how Joe had a nice two-strike hit. That was big to get us started there. Gunner, with a two-out RBI was nice to see as well. Jaxon (Hallmark) has kind of been doing that for us the whole season. So, yeah. It’s always fun to watch the new guys get in there.”
Hallmark went 1-of-3 at the plate with an RBI.
Nebraska will play a doubleheader with Cal Poly to close out the series on Saturday beginning at 12:05. Pregame will start at 11:35 on KLIN. Nate Fischer will start the first game. Matt Warren will start the second.
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