Huskers Fall to Jayhawks
Lincoln – Bryce Nimmo went 2-for-4 and scored twice, but Kansas used a strong pitching performance from T.J. Walz to salvage the final game of the series with a 6-3 victory Sunday afternoon at Hawks Field.
Walz (3-0) turned in the longest outing of his career, allowing three runs over 7.2 innings, as he kept the Huskers off the scoreboard until the sixth. The freshman right-hander fanned five and scattered six hits to help Kansas (25-18, 5-10 Big 12) snap Nebraska’s five-game win streak.
John Allman and Buck Afenir had two hits and drove in two runs apiece for Kansas, as the Jayhawks became only the second team to record a win over the Huskers at Hawks Field in 24 games this season.
Kansas struck early against NU starter Aaron Pribanic, getting a run in the first on a two-out Afenir RBI single that scored Robbie Price, but the Husker right-hander settled down and didn’t give up another run until the sixth, when Afenir’s second hit of the afternoon scored Casey Larson to spot the Jayhawks a 2-0 lead.
The Huskers, who were held to one hit through the first five innings, got to Walz in the sixth, as Nimmo and Jake Mort opened the frame with consecutive singles to put runners on the corners before Jake Opitz lofted a sacrifice fly to right to make it a 2-1 contest.
Kansas got some much-needed breathing room in the seventh with three runs to extend the lead to 5-1. The Jayhawks loaded the bases on a single and two walk, and the Huskers brought in Zach Herr. Nick Faunce made it a 3-1 with a sacrifice fly before Allman slapped a 2-1 pitch between third and short for a two-run single to make it a four run game.
“I thought Kansas did a good job with a lot of things today,” Nebraska Mike Anderson said. “I thought they were a little bit better prepared and came out fighting in the first inning. They got on top, and our goal on a Sunday is always to get on top and score runs early, especially when you’re trying to sweep. We feel like you can get a team down early from an emotional standpoint; we didn’t do that, and they did. They got themselves on top and kept us off balance the rest of the day.”
Pribanic (3-2) took the loss, allowing five runs on six hits over 6.1 innings, while striking out a career-high eight hitters on the day.
The Huskers manufactured a run in the bottom of the seventh, as Craig Corriston singled and moved to third on a balk and a wild pitch before scoring on DJ Belfonte’s ground out. Kansas got the run back in the eight on Erik Morrison’s RBI double.
Nebraska threatened in both the eighth and ninth, getting the tying man to the plate in each inning. In the eighth, Nimmo doubled and eventually scored on Opitz’s RBI single to slice the lead to three runs. NU had two on and two out, but Paul Smyth got Nick Sullivan to ground out to end the threat. In the ninth, Corriston was hit by a pitch before a Kansas miscue put two on with no outs, Smyth then induced pinch hitter David Stewart to ground into a double play before retiring Ben Kline to earn his seventh save.
The Huskers return to action on Tuesday night, when they begin a two-game series with the Creighton Bluejays. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. and tickets can be purchased by calling the Nebraska Ticket Office at 800-8-BIGRED or on the Internet at Huskers.com.