Bird (2-1) collected his second win of the year, going a career-high six innings, as he allowed three singles and matched his career best with four strikeouts before leaving to a standing ovation in the seventh from a crowd of 5,204 at Hawks Field.
Bird, whose previous career long was five innings, was efficient throughout the night, as the teams battled through winds in excess of 35 miles per hour all night. The junior from Omaha, who took the loss in last year’s meeting in Wichita, did not allow an extra-base hit and allowed one runner to reach second over his first six innings.
Nebraska Head Coach Mike Anderson believed that Bird would bounce back after allowing seven runs in just 0.2 innings of relief at Oklahoma State on Saturday.
"The only one thing I was very confident about is that I knew Erik Bird’s personality and character," Anderson said. "I knew he had the ability to put that behind him. You still have to go out and perform, but from the mental side I was very confident."
"It’s a good win against a good program," Anderson said of the win over the Shockers. "In the end it might end up being something big, but right now it’s just a good win against a good program."
Herr then closed the door with 2.1 innings of one-hit relief, getting NU out of a two-on, two-out jam in the seventh before allowing one hit in the final two innings, as the Shockers did not have a runner reach third until two outs in the ninth.
The win was the Huskers’ fourth shutout of the year and first time that Wichita State had been shut out since last year’s Super Regional. Tuesday’s win also marked NU’s second straight shutout of the Shockers, as the Huskers posted an 11-0 whitewash in Lincoln two years ago.
Nebraska (26-5-1) got all the runs they needed off Wichita State starter Tim Kelley in the bottom of the first, as the Huskers strung together four straight hits, including RBI singles from Mitch Abeita and Nick Sullivan, to take a 2-0 lead. With one out, Jake Mort began the rally with a single before a Jake Opitz base hit put runners on first and second. Abeita sliced a Kelley offering into left center for an RBI before Sullivan’s single to right pushed the second run across.
That would be all of the scoring until the Huskers pushed across an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth, as Mort was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on a fielding error by WSU second baseman Taylor Brown.
The Huskers return to action this weekend, as they begin a three-game series with Kansas on Friday night. Tickets are available for purchase by calling the Nebraska Ticket Office at 800-8-Big Red or visiting Huskers.com
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