Manhattan, Kan. – Nebraska’s pitching staff was unable to stop Kansas State’s offense on Tuesday night, as the Wildcats pounded out 14 hits in a 9-1 win. After totaling 52 hits in a sweep of Northwestern last weekend, the Nebraska offense struggled, as the Huskers (11-16, 5-1 Big Ten), managed just five hits off five Wildcat pitches, who combined for five strikeouts and no walks.
Nebraska’s Tyler King last 3.0 innings in his first start of the season. Even though he produced three strikeouts, King gave up three runs on five hits and a walk.
Kansas State’s Tanner Witt had a career night at the plate, going 5-for-5 with a home run, double and four RBIs.
After the Kansas State scored the game’s first run in the first, the Wildcats extended their lead to 3-0 in the third with a solo home run from Witt and a pair of two-out singles that scored Jared King after he reached on a HBP. Witt’s round tripper was the first home run in 10 games off Husker pitching, dating back to NU’s game at UC Irvine on March 16.
Reliever Luke Bublitz took the mound in the fourth and gave up an unearned run, pushing the Wildcats’ lead to 4-0. KSU looked to blow the game open with the bases loaded and one down, but Bublitz induced consecutive groundballs to strand three runners.
The Huskers got on the board in the fifth without producing a hit. Kash Kalkowski led off the inning by reaching on an error at third and moved to third base on a wild pitch. The senior first baseman scored NU’s first run of the game on a RBI groundout from Tanner Lubach.
KSU got the run back in the bottom of the sixth with a two-out single. Witt reached on a one-out single, his fourth hit of the game, and moved into scoring position when Jeff Chesnut threw wide of first base on a pick-off attempt. After Chesnut struck out Conlon, Mitch Meyer delivered a one-out single to put KSU up four, 5-1.
Austin Darby led off the seventh with a double, Nebraska’s first extra-base hit of the game. The Husker rally quickly died when Kalkowski grounded out, Darby was caught stealing and Bryan Peters lined out.
The Wildcats ended the game by adding three runs in the seventh and one in the eighth.
The Huskers will next be in action this weekend when they travel to Iowa City, Iowa, for a three-game conference series with the Iowa Hawkeyes. The Huskers and Hawkeyes open play on Friday night with a 6:05 p.m. game at Duane Banks Field. The squads continue the series with a pair of 1:05 p.m. games on both Saturday and Sunday. Lane Grindle and Jeff Culhane will have the call all weekend on the Husker Sports Network, including for free on Huskers.com.