The result from Wednesday's opening game of the Red-White Series told the story of how the fall has gone for the Nebraska baseball team in its first season under new head coach Will Bolt.

Wednesday's matchup ended in a 5-5 tie, with the White team jumping to a 5-0 lead before the Red scored five runs in the bottom of the fifth and final inning of the contest at Haymarket Park.

"I think the fall's been really competitive. I think, really, that's what everybody kind of expected with it kind of being an audition for the players for us," Bolt said. "So I think they've really showed up ready to go at practice.

"I think we've had some days where we may look like there's a ways to go from the baseball side of it, but from the mental side of it, I think the guys showed up ready to work."

Nebraska's players, whether experienced or not, new and old, were split evenly among the Red and White rosters. A pair of newcomers — Cade Povich for the Red and Braxton Bragg for the White — got the starts on the mound.

This was far from how the Huskers will look come spring. Lincoln Southwest graduate and Texas A&M transfer Logan Foster played first base, a position he's never played in his career. Thanks to an assortment of injuries, some more serious than others, many players this fall have been forced to play out of position.

Still, Bolt has been pleased with his new roster's approach. The Huskers beat Wichita State 10-8 Sept. 21 in a 12-inning exhibition game, and went back and forth against each other Wednesday.

"What you saw tonight was what we've seen most of the fall with guys competing and getting after it and kind of the never say die (attitude) like we're going to stay in the fight," Bolt said.

Junior outfielder Keegan Watson, who saw limited action last season, blasted a three-run home run to go with a hard-hit single, and Mojo Hagge had a pair of hits, a two-RBI single and a triple, to pace the White offense.

"I feel like it's been a pretty easy transition. The new guys know what they're doing, they come in with a plan every day and we execute every day," Watson said of the new coaching staff. "So I feel like the transition's been pretty easy for the old guys and the new guys."

Aaron Palensky and Shay Schanaman each had two-RBI singles for the Red team in the fifth inning, and sophomore Drew Gilin drove in the game-tying run for the Red.

"I know Coach Bolt always preaches, be the best version of yourself you can be. I think that really resonates with a lot of the guys," Watson said. "They encourage us to play our hearts out, play with our hair on fire, but in a controlled way."

The series is scheduled for two more games, one each on Thursday and Friday. Both are set for 4 p.m. starts at Haymarket Park and scheduled to go five innings.

After that, the Huskers will host Kansas in an exhibition game on Oct. 19 to wrap up their fall schedule.

"I think you're always going to have one or two guys fighting for a spot," Watson said of the competition within the team for playing time. "It's never really beef between players, but there's always that feeling where you've got to work your ass off to be the best player you can be."

Reach the writer at 402-473-7436 or cbasnett@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraCB.


Husker basketball reporter

A Ravenna native, Chris covers the University of Nebraska men's basketball team and assists with football coverage. He spent nearly 10 years covering sports at the Kearney Hub and nearly four years at the Springfield News-Leader in Springfield, Mo.

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