Husker baseball has biggest hit total in two weeks and avoids series sweep by Northwestern

EVANSTON, Ill. — The Nebraska offense came to life with its biggest hit total in more than two weeks, and Reece Eddins logged another quality start in the Huskers’ 6-4 victory over Northwestern on Monday.

Five extra-base hits — more than NU earned in its past seven games combined — helped the visitors salvage the series finale. Aaron Palensky and Angelo Altavilla each produced three hits and combined to drive in five runs. Though left-handers have given the Huskers problems of late, southpaw Parker Hanks lasted just four-plus innings.

Nebraska (24-18, 13-8 Big Ten) led from the game’s third pitch, when Palensky blasted his third home run of the season. Altavilla added an RBI double in the fifth to push the advantage to 2-0 against the Wildcats (21-23, 8-10).

But the Huskers stranded the bases loaded in the frame, and Northwestern’s Casey O’Laughlin quickly homered in the bottom of the fifth. NU nearly stranded Jaxon Hallmark after a leadoff triple in the sixth before Altavilla’s two-out double and Palensky’s single plated runs. In the process, they pushed the edge to 4-1 and ended the team’s 2-for-19 series slump with runners in scoring position.

Nebraska’s 12 hits Monday were more than it managed in the series’ first two games combined (nine).

“We’ll take a win any way it comes,” Nebraska coach Darin Erstad said during his postgame radio interview. “But we left a lot out there.”

Altavilla’s bases-loaded groundout in the seventh extended the lead to 5-1, and Cam Chick scored in the eighth after stealing two bases and touching home on a throwing error.

Eddins gutted out six innings of one-run ball, allowing five hits while striking out six. His 106th and final pitch led to a rally-ending strikeout looking and eventually the ejection of arguing Northwestern coach Spencer Allen.

Nebraska, alone in third place in the Big Ten, steps out of league play next weekend for a home series against Arizona State beginning Friday. It closes the regular season at Haymarket Park against Michigan beginning May 16.

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