Lincoln – Nebraska’s five-game winning streak came to an end on Wednesday night at Hawks Field with a 10-6 loss to the Kansas State Wildcats (20-13). The Huskers, now 20-14 on the year, had bases loaded and the tying run at the plate with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but Jake Whaley struck out Pat Kelly for his first save of the season.
The Huskers battled throughout the game, but were unable to recover from a six-run second inning by the Wildcats.
Ross Kivett and Lance Miles each had three hits for the Wildcats, while Michael Pritchard led NU’s attack with three hits and three RBIs, including a double and a triple.
After not scoring in the first three innings of their past four games, the Huskers jumped out to a 1-0 lead on in the bottom of the first inning. Nebraska took advantage of an error by the Wildcats, as Steven Reveles reached on an error by shortstop Austin Fisher and then scored following a double by Pritchard and a sacrifice fly by Kelly, his 25th RBI of the season.
It didn't take long for the Wildcats to answer, scoring six runs in the second on five walks, a HBP and four hits, including five runs on three base hits with two outs.
Colton Howell came in and ended KSU's rally in the second with a bases-loaded flyout. The sophomore went on to throw a career-high 3.1 innings of scoreless relief to help the Huskers get back in the game.
Nebraska was unable to respond in the bottom of the second, going down in order, but fought back in the third with three runs on three hits to cut the KSU lead to 6-4. Pritchard drove in a pair of runs with his second extra-base hit of the game, a triple off the right-center field wall, and then scored on a ground ball by Kelly. The triple was Pritchard's fourth of the season after notching on triple during his first three seasons at Nebraska, and the Huskers 16th three bagger of 2014.
After Howell stranded a pair of runners in the fifth, NU's offense cut KSU's lead to one run on a RBI single by Pritchard. Reveles got the inning going with a one-out single and then put himself in scoring position with his third stolen base of the year. Pritchard stepped up and came through with his third RBI of the game on a single to center field. Later, Nebraska had the trying run at second base following a two-out single by Ryan Boldt, but Jake Fromson got pinch hitter Ben Miller to bounce into an inning-ending groundout.
Bob Greco took the mound in the sixth and got off to a rocky start, issuing consecutive walks. The senior settled down and got a flyout and a strikeout, before Mitch Meyer stepped to the plate. KSU's right fielder sent a base hit to right field, but Austin Darby saved a run and ended the inning by throwing out Shane Conlon at the plate.
The Wildcats pushed their lead back to two runs in the top of the seventh, 7-5. KSU loaded the bases with a one-out single, HBP and a bunt single, setting the table for Conlon to drive in a run with a sacrifice fly. KSU plated three insurance runs in the top of the ninth on a sacrifice fly and a two-RBI single with two down.
After scoring a combined 12 runs in the eighth and ninth innings of their last five games, the Huskers plated one run in the bottom of the ninth and had a chance to tie the game, but another Husker comeback wasn’t meant to be.
Nebraska returns to Big Ten Conference play this weekend with a three-game set in Minneapolis against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Friday's series opener is scheduled for 3:05 p.m., while Saturday and Sunday's games are scheduled for 2:05 p.m. Sunday's game will be carried nationwide on the Big Ten Network.