Kalkowski Walk-off Single Gives Huskers Series Win Over K-State
Lincoln, Neb. - Kash Kalkowski delivered a 1-out, bases loaded walk-off single through the left side of the infield to score Michael Pritchard and lift Nebraska (24-14, 5-7) to a series victory in a 5-4 win over Kansas State (20-15, 5-10) on Monday afternoon at Hawks Field.
The win marks Nebraska's fourth walk-off victory of the year after K-State tied the game 4-4 in the top of the ninth on Husker reliever Casey Hauptman. It also results in the fourth one-run game between the two teams this season.
"We had to fight hard," head coach Mike Anderson said. "That's three 1-run games that our kids never gave up on."
Down to their final out in the top of the ninth, Kansas State's Wade Hinkle doubled to left field before Ryan Moore pinch ran and scored the tying run on Tanner Witt's infield single deep at second base. Bryan Peters made a nice backhanded stop but Witt broke up the play at the plate with a head first slide.
The Huskers immediately responded by loading the bases with no outs on singles from Michael Pritchard and Bryan Peters and a walk to Kale Kiser. After Cody Asche fouled out, Kalkowski faced an 0-2 count but bounced a single through the left side of the drawn in infield to score Pritchard for the winning run and improve Nebraska to 19-0 when leading after six innings.
"It was a hard-fought series," Anderson said. "I said this (earlier) against UCLA, we're probably a pitch or two away from getting swept and we're probably a pitch or two away from sweeping. I thought that same thing with this series. I'm proud of these kids."
Hauptman (6-2) threw the final 3.0 innings and picked up the win as he gave up two runs on six hits. He relieved starter Tyler Niederklein after the sophomore went a Big 12 career-long 6.0 innings and gave up two runs on six hits while striking out four and no t walking a batter. Hauptman fanned two and also did not offer any free bases to mark the third time this season the NU pitching staff has not allowed any walks in a game.
Nebraska's 11-hit offensive attack was highlighted by Asche's Big 12-leading 10th home run of the season that gave NU a 3-2 lead in the third inning. Asche sent a 2-1 pitch from KSU starter Kayvon Bahramzadeh into the right field terrace to score Peters after Nick Martini's 2-run shot had given the Wildcats a 2-1 lead in the top half of the inning.
The Huskers jumped out to an early lead in the second inning when freshman designated hitter Nick Miller hit an RBI single up the middle. Miller, who was starting his first game of the season, scored Kurt Farmer from second base to mark his second RBI of the year. Farmer paced the Huskers at the plate by notching his fifth three-hit game of the season as he went 3-for-4 on a double and a pair of singles.
Nebraska extended its lead to 4-2 in the sixth after Kalkowski and Farmer led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Kalkowski came around to score when Chad Christensen's sacrifice bunt resulted in a throwing error to first base by KSU reliever Shane Conlon.
The Wildcats cut the two-run deficit in half in the eighth inning on a bloop RBI single from Nick Martini before tying the game in the ninth. Kansas State attempted to steal twice on NU catcher Patric Tolentino, as Ross Kivett was thrown out in the first before Hinkle swiped second in the fourth. Hinkle's stolen base is the first against Tolentino this season, as he has thrown out 8-of-9 attempted base stealers. In the same inning, KSU had runners on the corners with one out when Niederklein successfully picked off Kindel at third base to stop the scoring threat. The Wildcats left nine runners on base.
Nebraska will be in action for a fourth straight day as the Huskers travel to Omaha to open TD Ameritrade Park against Creighton on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. The game will be televised statewide and nationally on NET and CBS College Sports.