McConnaughey, Huskers Even Series in 16-1 Rout


Mason McConnaughey tossed seven scoreless innings and struck a career-high nine batters for the second time this year in No. 23 Nebraska’s 16-1 win at Rutgers on Saturday afternoon at Bointon Field.

Nebraska (23-9, 6-2 Big Ten) totaled 16 runs on 14 hits, while Rutgers (21-13, 2-6 Big Ten) scored one run on nine hits and two errors.

Case Sanderson and Dylan Carey had three hits apiece along with a homer. Ben Columbus was 2-for-5 with a double, a home run and five RBI. Joshua Overbeek went 2-for-3, while Rhett Stokes, Cole Evans, Josh Caron and Gabe Swansen recorded one hit each.

McConnaughey moved to 4-2 on the season after blanking the Big Ten’s top offense across seven frames. The sophomore matched his career high with nine strikeouts and worked around six hits. Ty Horn allowed one run on two hits in one inning, while Caleb Clark allowed one hit and struck out three Scarlet Knights in the ninth inning.

Rutgers pieced together the first threat of the game with a pair of two-out baserunners after a single and plunked batter in the bottom of the second. McConnaughey eluded the damage with a three-pitch strikeout to send a scoreless game into the third inning.

The Huskers hung five runs on three hits and an error to jump out to 5-0 lead in the third inning. Riley Silva was plunked, and Cayden Brumbaugh reached on a fielding error to put runners and first and second with one out. A double steal moved the pair to second and third for the Big Red, while a full-count walk to Overbeek loaded the bases.

A wild pitch brought home Silva to score Nebraska’s first run of the game, before Evans blooped a two-RBI single down the right-field line to extend the lead to three. Sanderson tacked on two more to the lead, lifting a 1-1 pitch into the berm in left field for his second homer of the season.

Carey reached on a one-out single to left in the top of the fourth. The sophomore moved to second on a wild pitch, before advancing to third and home on a pair of passed balls to grow the lead to six.

The Huskers plated runs for the third consecutive inning, extending the lead to 9-0 behind three runs on two hits. Sanderson’s single, followed by consecutive hit by pitches to Caron and Swansen loaded the bases for the Big Red with no outs.

Columbus plated two for the Huskers with a ground-rule two-RBI double to left-center, followed by Swansen touching home on a double play to make it a 9-0 lead in the fifth.

Nebraska’s lead reached double-digits in the sixth when Swansen ripped a two-RBI double down the left-field line to balloon the advantage to 11 for the Big Red.

The Big Red enlarged its lead to 16 behind back-to-back homers from Columbus and Carey. A four-pitch walk to Evans, followed by Sanderson’s single through the left side placed runners on first and second with one out. Caron ripped an RBI single back up the middle to enlarge the lead to a dozen.

With runners on second and third and two outs, Columbus lifted an 0-1 pitch over the wall in center for a three-run homer, his second home run on the week for the Huskers. Carey followed Columbus with a solo blast to left to conclude the scoring for Nebraska on Saturday.

The Scarlet Knights plated their lone run of the day in the bottom of the eighth on an RBI fielder’s choice after a pair of singles earlier in the inning.

Nebraska and Rutgers conclude the weekend series tomorrow at 11 a.m. CT at Bainton Field. Sunday’s series finale can be seen on the Big Ten Network, with Connor Onion and Danan Hughes on the call. Fans can also listen to Dave Gustafson and Ben McLaughlin call the action on the Huskers Radio Network.