Manhattan, Kan. – Cade Thompson drove in a career-high three runs, but No. 20 Kansas State used two grand slams to even the series with Nebraska, taking a 13-5 victory Saturday afternoon.
Thompson went 1-for-2 with a homer and a pair of sacrifice flies, as Nebraska belted three homers on the afternoon, but Kansas State used grand slams from Matt Giller and Kent Urban to turn a 4-3 game into 13-4 advantage.
Giller went 3-for-4 with four RBIs, while Urban and Daniel Dellasega had two hits and four RBIs apiece for Kansas State (22-6, 5-3 Big 12), as the No. 4-7 hitters in the Wildcat lineup combined for seven hits and 12 RBIs on the afternoon.
Adam Bailey and Chad Christensen homered in the losing effort for Nebraska (16-15, 4-7 Big 12). The Huskers can still win the series with a victory in Sunday’s finale, schedule for 1 p.m, as Tom Lemke looks for his fifth win of the season.
The Huskers got on the board in the top of the second, as Christensen belted a one-out solo homer into the trees in left for his sixth round tripper of the year to put NU up 1-0.
Kansas State came back with three runs off NU starter Khris Tate in the third, getting a three-double from Dellasega to take the lead. With runners at second and third and one out, Tate struck out Carter Jurica for the second out, but could not escape the inning, as he hit Nick Martini to load the bases before Dellasega cleared the bases with a double to right center.
The Huskers fought back against KSU starter Kyle Hunter, getting a solo homer from Thompson in the fourth before Bailey’s 13th homer of the year one inning later knotted the score at three.
The Wildcats responded with five runs in the bottom of the frame to make it an 8-3 game. Martini opened the frame with a double to end Tate’s afternoon. Dellasega then greeted reliever Chase Adams with an RBI single – his fourth RBI of the day - to put KSU ahead, 4-3, before a single to Urban and a walk to Mike Kindel loaded the bases. Jordan Roualdes was called on to get NU out of the jam, but Giller hit a 3-2 pitch over the wall in center for a grand slam to make it a five-run lead.
Nebraska quickly responded in the top of the sixth, as a triple by Cody Asche and a walk to Christensen put runners on the corners and ended Hunter’s day after five-plus innings. Thompson’s sacrifice fly made it 8-4 and NU had runners on first and second with one out, but KSU closer James Allen induced Patric Tolentino into an inning-ending double play, one of three turned by KSU, to snuff out the rally.
Hunter (6-0) allowed four runs over five-plus for the victory for his sixth win without a loss, while Tate (1-2) allowed four runs to suffer his first defeat in three decisions.
KSU struck again in the sixth, as Jurica walked and Martini singled before an error loaded the bases, as third base umpire Doug Williams ruled that Asche did not step on third on Dellasega’s sacrifice bunt attempt. The play, which led to the ejection of Nebraska Coach Mike Anderson, proved costly moments later as Urban made it a 12-4 game with a grand slam.
“We were in it early had had some chances to get back into the game,” Anderson said. “We got back to within 8-4 and had some opportunities on an offensive day like that. We didn’t feel like we were out of it at all if we could keep it tight. We thought we had made a play, but we didn’t, and they took advantage.”
The series wraps up Sunday at 1 p.m., and the game will be carried on the Husker Sports Network and on Huskers.com. In addition, live video will be available on HuskersNside.
Belfonte was hit by two pitches today, raising his career total to 56, a total which is fourth all-time among conference players, and he reached safely all five times on Saturday...Bailey’s 13 homers tops his entire 2009 season total of 12….the last time Nebraska gave up two grand slams in a season was in 2004…Christensen’s six homers is the most by a Husker freshman since Alex Gordon hit seven in 2003..Thompson’s previous RBI high was two set against North Dakota on March 30…Thompson is now hitting .421 with two homers and seven RBIs in his last eight contests...Anderson's ejection was his first since May 24, 2007.