Huskers Pounce Wildcats
Lincoln, Neb. - A pair of four-run innings carried the Nebraska baseball team (7-4, 0-0 Big Ten) to a 9-6 win over the Kansas State Wildcats on Tuesday afternoon at Hawks Field. In front of 4,169 fans, the Huskers won their 34th straight home opener dating back to 1979 and moved to 11-0 in home openers at Hawks Field with the win. Senior Kale Kiser led the way for NU with a 2-for-4 performance at the plate, including a two-run home run in the fourth inning and a double in the sixth.
Chad Christensen and Kurt Farmer also had two hits each for Head Coach Darin Erstad's offense, with Christensen driving in a team-high three RBI's to bring his season total to 11. Josh Scheffert added two RBI's in the sixth on a double down the left field line. With a hit-by-pitch in the third inning, Bryan Peters took over sole possession of third place on NU's career charts with his 38th career hit-by-pitch, as he moved past Nick Sullivan and Alex Gordon.
Nebraska's pitching staff used seven pitchers on the day, with Dylan Vogt picking up the win to move to 1-1 on the year. Travis Huber shut the door with a perfect ninth inning, including two strikeouts, for his third save of the season.
After getting down 2-0 and failing to reach base through the first two innings, the Huskers found their rhythm in the bottom of the third with four runs. Farmer led off with a walk and came around to score on Kiser's full-count two-run homer that just carried over the left field fence. Next, Peters was hit-by-pitch and stole second before Michael Pritchard was walked. Rick Sanguinetti then moved both his teammates into scoring position with his team-leading fifth sacrifice bunt of the season. Following a strikeout, Christensen came through with sixth and seventh two-out RBI's of the season on a single to right field that scored Peters and Pritchard.
Kansas State would cut NU's lead to 4-3 in the top of the fifth with one run, but the Huskers responded in the bottom of the frame with four runs to take an 8-3 lead. Christensen notched his third RBI of the game on a single that scored Pritchard and Scheffert knocked in Christensen and Kash Kalkowski, who had singled before Christensen. Scheffert came around to score on a single by Farmer, but no other Husker would come to the plate, as Farmer was out at second trying to stretch the hit into a double.
The Huskers looked to have the game in hand after adding a ninth run in the sixth when Kiser scored on a single by Peters after leading the inning off with a double, but the Wildcats scratched across three runs in the top of the eighth to cut the NU lead to 9-6. KSU batted around in the eighth and had the bases loaded with two outs, but Brandon Pierce got Mike Kindel to line out to Christensen at short to end the KSU rally.
KSU was able to get anything going in the ninth, as Huber struck out the first two Wildcats he faced and finished the inning with a lineout to shut the door on the Cats.
The Huskers will be back at Hawks Field tomorrow for a 1:35 p.m. meeting with Nebraska-Kearney. NU is set to send senior right-hander Dexter Spitsnogle to the mound, while UNK will counter with Cory Ridenour.