Huskers headline Big Ten Baseball Awards
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -The 2021 Big Ten champion Nebraska baseball team was well represented on Sunday when the Big Ten Conference released its season baseball awards, with the program capturing three of the league’s major awards. Junior infielder/right-handed pitcher Spencer Schwellenbach became the first Husker baseball player to be named Big Ten Player of the Year, Max Anderson was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and Will Bolt was tabbed as Big Ten Coach of the Year.
Schwellenbach is the first Husker baseball player to be named conference player of the year since 2005, when Alex Gordon won Big 12 Player of the Year for the second straight season. He is the seventh player in program history to earn the honor, joining Gordon (2004, 2005), Matt Hopper (2003), Aaron Marsden (2003), Jed Morris (2002), Shane Komine (2000, 2001) and Darin Erstad (1995). A contributor in all three facets of the game, Schwellenbach has been Nebraska’s No. 3 hitter all season, started every game at shortstop and has served as the team’s closer.
Offensively, Schwellenbach ranks in the top 10 in the league in runs (41), RBIs (35), walks (28), while in the field he has committed just three errors in 168 chances. The Saginaw, Mich., native took the mound for the first time during his Husker career this season and has been electric. Schwellenbach ranks third in the Big Ten with nine saves. He has a blistering 0.71 ERA in 25.1 innings over 16 appearances. He has struck out 29, walked six and has allowed just two earned runs.
Anderson put together one of the top freshman seasons at Nebraska in recent history. The Omaha native ranks second on the team and eighth in the Big Ten with a .337 batting average and is tied with teammate Jaxon Hallmark for the league lead in hits with 60. Anderson ranks second on the team with 19 multi-hit games this year, including a team-best nine three-hit games and he is tied for the team lead with a pair of four-hit performances.
Anderson is the fifth player in program history to be named conference freshman of the year. Chad Luensman was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2016, while Shane Komine (1999), Matt Hopper (2000) and Johnny Dorn (2005) were all named Big 12 Freshman of the Year.
Bolt was tabbed as the league’s coach of the year in his first Big Ten season after last year was cut short due to COVID-19. The Huskers won their first Big Ten regular-season title under Bolt’s leadership and secured the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Nebraska posted a 31-12 conference record and won the Big Ten title after not being picked in the top six of the preseason coaches’ poll. Bolt is Nebraska’s second baseball coach to be named Big Ten Coach of the Year, as Darin Erstad earned the honor in 2017.
In addition to the three award winners, Nebraska had four first-team All-Big Ten honorees, its most in a single season since NU joined the Big Ten. Nebraska has previously earned three first-team honors in both 2012 and 2014. Nebraska last produced four first-team selections as a member of the Big 12 Conference in 2005.
Schwellenbach was the relief pitcher on the All-Big Ten first team and was joined by teammates Luke Roskam (catcher), Hallmark (outfielder) and Cade Povich (starting pitcher). Anderson was tabbed as the second-team third baseman and was also honored on the all-freshman team along with Brice Matthews as an at-large pick. Joe Acker was Nebraska’s Sportsmanship Award Honoree.
Nebraska finished the regular season with a 31-12 record to capture the Big Ten Championship. The Huskers will learn their postseason destination during Monday’s NCAA Selection Show, slated for 11 AM (CT) on ESPN2.
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