LINCOLN — Nebraska began Red-White week Monday with the first of three baseball games as the Red team prevailed 4-1. A few notables from the two-hour affair on a gorgeous afternoon at Haymarket Park:
Pitching bested the hitting. Senior right-hander Koty Frank started for the Red side and dominated, striking out seven batters across five scoreless innings and 56 pitches. Mostly a long reliever last season as NU played no midweek games, Frank induced plenty of weak contact with six groundouts and a pair of flyouts against a White lineup primarily composed of young players and newcomers. The only damage was a Brice Matthews double in the first and an Efry Cervantes single in the fifth.
Meanwhile, left-hander Jake Bunz logged three innings for White while picking up six punchouts along the way with mid-90s velocity. Last year’s high-leverage bullpen arm allowed just a Max Anderson double through two frames. In the third, freshman Max Petersen (single), junior Luke Sartori (double) and frosh Core Jackson (walk) loaded the bases before two runs scored on a Max Anderson 390-foot sacrifice fly and an ensuing White error on a dropped relay throw to the infield.
Relievers to enjoy one-inning scoreless outings were freshman Jackson Brockett for White and Chandler Benson for Red.
Caron continues strong fall. Freshman catcher Josh Caron slugged a first-pitch home run to straightaway center field off right-hander Drew Christo in the seventh to account for the only White run. The Wisconsin native also struck out and popped out but has consistently stood out for his hitting and defense in scrimmages.
Sartori shines. Sartori showed why he remains a strong candidate to be in the lineup — and part of a wide-open outfield group next spring — by finishing 3 for 4 with a pair of RBIs. The speedy Lincoln Southwest product who joined Nebraska last year as a junior college transfer doubled in the third inning, then dunked a two-run single into left-center in the fourth. The centerfielder also singled in the sixth and was thrown out by an eyelash trying to take second base.
Another outfielder, touted freshman Chase Mason, struck out in all three of his at-bats. The South Dakota native has shown prodigious power in workouts since being physically cleared to play last week.
Infield web gems. Freshman first baseman Matthew Guthmiller stood out defensively with a nice between-hop scoop of a bouncer and later used all of his 6-foot-1 frame to snag a high throw on a grounder for an out. Second baseman Cam Chick also made a gold-star play on a slow dribbler. Cervantes, at third base, barehanded a Petersen bunt on the run for a bang-bang out.