Tolentino Homers as Huskers Pick Up 10th Win
Lincoln, Neb. - Patric Tolentino hit his first career home run as part of a four-run sixth inning and Kash Kalkowski's hit streak reached 12 games to lead Nebraska (10-6) to an 8-3 win over South Dakota State (3-9) on Tuesday afternoon at Hawks Field.
Tyler Niederklein (1-1) earned his first victory of the year in a pre-determined outing as the Omaha, Neb., native threw four shutout innings and give up just two hits while striking out four. Kale Kiser had his fifth multiple-hit game of the season with a 3-for-4 effort at the plate, while middle infielders Bryan Peters (2-for-2) and Chad Christensen (2-for-4) helped lead NU to a 12-hit performance.
Leading just 4-2 after 5 ½ innings, the Huskers broke the game open with four runs in the bottom of the sixth. The outburst was capped by Tolentino's solo shot to left field, giving NU a home run in five of its eight home games this season. The junior college transfer from Sickles, Okla., took the first pitch he saw from Kolton Emery, which knocked the SDSU starter out of the game after giving up eight runs on nine hits.
Tolentino's homer was the fourth run in an inning that started by Josh Scheffert reaching safely on an error. Kalkowski was then hit by a pitch and both runners advanced a base when Emery attempted to pick off Scheffert at second but the errant throw went into center field. Christensen followed with an RBI single to left before Kalkowski scored on a balk, while Farmer hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Christensen. Tolentino then blasted his home run onto the left field berm to complete the four-run inning and give NU a commanding 8-1 lead.
The Huskers opened a 3-0 advantage in the third inning, which also began with an error as Tolentino reached on a grounder to short. Kiser, Peters, Asche and Scheffert then produced four straight singles, while NU added another run in the fourth on a Kurt Farmer RBI double down the left field line.
In addition to the Husker offense scoring eight runs on 12 hits, the NU defense also put together a solid performance with its eighth errorless game of the season. Although the Huskers did not score in the final three innings, Zach Hirsch held SDSU in check in the final two frames by giving up just one hit and facing one over the minimum.
Kalkowski was in jeopardy of having his team-best hit streak snapped, but came through in the seventh inning with a single in his last at-bat. The hit extends the Grand Island, Neb., native's streak to 12 games, matching Nebraska's longest hit streak of the 2010 season by Cody Asche.
The Huskers continue a busy week by traveling to Manhattan, Kan., on Wednesday for a non-conference game at Kansas State. First pitch from Tointon Family Stadium is set for 6:30 p.m. It was mark the first time the teams have played in a non-conference ruled contest since 1910. All the action can be heard on the Husker Sports Network. Due to the men's basketball's first round NIT game at Wichita State, the baseball game can be heard on Huskers.com and selected HSN affiliates, including 105.3 FM in Lincoln.