Huskers Pounce on KSU, 11-4
Manhattan, Kan. – Jake Opitz and Craig Corriston combined for seven hits and five RBIs, while Thad Weber scattered four hits over seven innings, helping the Nebraska baseball team pick up its 12th straight win with an 11-4 win over Kansas State Saturday.
Opitz and Corriston led Nebraska’s season-high 16-hit barrage, as the Huskers jumped out to a 7-0 lead through five innings and cruised en route to improving to 13-2 overall and 2-0 in the Big 12.
Opitz went 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs, as his two-run homer in the third inning off KSU starter Chase Bayuk opened the offensive flood gates, while Corriston posted his first career-four hit day, going 4-for-5 with two RBIs and scored twice.
While the Huskers reached double figures in runs for the fifth time in 15 games, Nebraska Head Coach Mike Anderson said there are still many things to work on to get better.
"It was a good win, and we came out aggressive today," Anderson said. "It was a good offensive day in terms of numbers, but I didn’t think we were very disciplined with some of our approaches offensively. We need to improve on that.
"The only way this team is going to have success is to have nine guys focused on our offense," Anderson said. "I don’t think we have the most talented hitters in the league, but I think we have the most heart if we continue to work at it."
While the Huskers pounced on Bayuk (0-2) and knocked him out in the third, Weber turned in another strong outing, as the senior right-hander improved to 3-1 on the season. Weber fanned a career-high nine hitters and took a two-hit shutout into the seventh, as KSU (7-8, 0-2 Big 12) scored all four of their runs in the final three frames.
"Thad did a great job today," Nebraska Head Coach Mike Anderson said. "He got off to a rough start at Stanford, but other than that, he’s been very solid."
In the second, consecutive singles by Corriston and Tyler Farst opened the second inning before Ben Kline’s sacrifice moved both runners into scoring position. Dan Johnston then got the Huskers on the board with a grounder to short to plate NU’s first run.
The Huskers used the long ball to extend the lead one inning later, as Jake Mort opened the frame with a single before coming home on Opitz’s first homer of the season, a two-run blast into the trees in right. NU continued to threaten, getting two more hits to chase Bayuk after 2.2 innings, but Justin Lindsey got the Wildcats out of the jam without further damage.
The Huskers broke the game open in the fourth with four hits, including a two-out two-run double by Corriston, to make it a 6-0 game. One-out singles from Mort and Opitz got the rally starter before Mitch Abeita was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Bryce Nimmo plated a run with a sacrifice fly to center before Corriston ripped a 2-2 pitch from Thomas Rooke past third to score another pair.
Kansas State had early opportunities against Weber, putting two on with one out in both the third and fourth innings, but the right-hander deftly worked out of trouble in both fames to keep the shutout going.
Opitz made it a 7-0 lead in the fifth with a sacrifice fly, as the Huskers took advantage of a walk to Johnston and an errant pickoff attempt to get a runner into scoring position.
The Wildcats broke up Weber’s shutout bid in the seventh on Brett Scott’s RBI single.
The Huskers quickly pushed the margin to 11-1 in the eighth with four more runs, including a two-run double from DJ Belfonte and Mort’s third hit of the day, an RBI double.
The Huskers, whose 12-game win streak is the longest since early in the 2006 season, will look for the series sweep Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.