Lincoln, Neb. -
Nebraska (11-7) scored eight runs in the first three innings before Cody Asche and Kash Kalkowski hit back-to-back solo homers in the seventh to lead the Huskers to a 10-1 win over North Dakota (1-11) on Friday afternoon at Hawks Field.
Kalkowski, a sophomore from Grand Island, Neb., had a career-high three hits in his first game as NU's cleanup hitter, while also tying his career-best with four RBIs. Matt Freeman improved to 3-1 on the mound as he threw six shutout innings while giving up seven hits. He was aided by a strong Husker defense that turned a season-high three double plays to help the senior get out of trouble in the second, third and fifth innings.
"It was a good day," head coach Mike Anderson said. "I thought Matt Freeman did a great job for us. He gave up a few hits but worked his way out of it each time. He just controlled the innings the way he should and threw pitches for strikes. It was good to go out and get some runs early. We wanted some opportunities for some (younger) kids and we got that today."
Asche maintained his team RBI lead by going 2-for-3 with a pair of runs batted in. His RBI single in the first started the scoring before he and Kalkowski hit back-to-back homers on consecutive pitches in the seventh to help NU reach the double-digit run mark for the fifth time this season.
Nebraska scored seven of its runs in the second and third innings. Bryan Peters led the Huskers to a four-run frame in the second with his 2-RBI double down the left line that scored Josh Scheffert and Cory Burleson, who each hit singles to get on base. Peters finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs as he and Kalkowski each produced their fourth multiple-RBI games of the season, tying Burleson for the team lead in that category.
The Huskers put together an impressive two-out rally in the fourth after starting the inning with back-to-back pop outs. Following walks by Burleson and Kiser, Peters came through with an RBI single before Asche was intentionally walked. Kalkowski then delivered a 2-RBI single to right field to give NU a 8-0 lead.
North Dakota looked to cut into the Husker lead in the top of the fourth by loading the bases with two outs, but Freeman forced UND's top hitter, Andy Sadler, to ground out to the mound to end the threat.
The Huskers did not score in the middle three innings as Freeman kept UND off the board during his six-inning outing. Ryan Hander and Nick Dolsky combined to throw the final three and gave up just a run and two hits.
With the early 8-0 cushion, Nebraska had the chance to play several less-experienced players throughout the final six innings. In the fourth, Tanner Krietemeier tallied his first career hit with a single to center field, while Pat Hirschberg made a fantastic diving catch in right field in the seventh that prevented what could have been a leadoff double for North Dakota.
The Huskers and Fighting Sioux will be back in action Saturday afternoon with a doubleheader at Hawks Field. First pitch has been moved up to 12:05 p.m. Tickets can be purchased on Huskers.com or at Hawks Field beginning 90 minutes before the game.