Husker Complete Season Sweep of Kansas State
Manhattan, Kan. - The Nebraska baseball team (20-11, 3-3 Big Ten) picked up its 20th win of the season and finished a 3-0 season sweep of the Kansas State Wildcats on Tuesday night with a 6-0 win. Five NU pitchers combined for the four-hit shutout, while Michael Pritchard, Rich Sanguinetti and Kash Kalkowski each produced two hits.
Tyler King was stellar in his first career start, as the sophomore gave up just one hit over 4.0 shutout innings with three strikeouts. It was a career-high outing for the Republic, Mo., native, topping his 3.0-shutout innings against UCLA last season. The Wildcats were threatening in the second when Dan Klein drew a two-out walk and moved to third on a pair of wild pitches, but King composed himself and struck out Jon Davis to end the frame.
Tyler Niederklein relieved King and was just as good, giving up just one hit and no runs over 3.0 innings of work. Ryan Hander, Aaron Bummer and Travis Huber combined to pitch the eighth and ninth innings to finish the shutout. Bummer, a freshman lefty, entered the game in the bottom of the eighth with one out and a runner on second and proceeded to retire the Wildcats' No. 3 and 4 hitters in order to end the inning.
With neither team able to produce a hit through the first two innings, Cory Burleson broke through with a one-out single in the third and moved into scoring position at second on a hit-and-run groundout by Kurt Farmer. Pritchard followed with a hard shot up the middle that deflected off the pitcher for an infield single to give the Huskers runners at first and third with two outs. Sanguinetti then delivered the Huskers' second straight two-out hit with a double down the right field line, his eighth of the season, that scored Burleson. Pritchard also came in to score on the play to give NU a 2-0 lead, as the Wildcats' Tanner Witt tried to throw out Sanguinetti at second, but the shortstop was unable to handle the throw and it skipped into left field.
The Husker bats went silent in the fourth and fifth innings with a lone single from Pat Kelly, but came to life in the sixth with a pair of infield singles from Chad Christensen and Kalkowski to lead off the inning. The Husker rally quickly ended when reliever Robert Youngdahl notched consecutive strikeouts and got Austin Darby to pop out to end the inning and keep the NU lead at 2-0.
Youngdahl retired his fourth straight Husker to start the seventh, but it was his last out, as he walked Farmer and gave up back-to-back singles to Pritchard and Sanguinetti, with Sanguinetti driving in Farmer to record his second RBI of the game.
With Pritchard on third and Sanguinetti on second, Johnny Fasola entered the game for the Wildcats and got the second out of the inning when Pritchard was tagged out in a rundown following a grounder by Christensen. Fasola was unable to close the inning with minimal damage, as Kalkowski roped a single through the right side that extended NU's lead to 5-0 with his eighth and ninth two-out RBI's of the season.
Caleb Wallingford started the top of the ninth for the Wildcats and was welcomed by a triple by Farmer into the right-field gap. Kale Kiser followed with a sacrifice fly to push the Huskers' lead to 6-0. Huber polished off the shutout in the ninth with a strikeout to end the game.Following four straight road games, the Huskers return to Hawks Field this Friday to open a three-game series with the Iowa Hawkeyes. First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. and will be televised across the state on NET and will be streamed nationally on BTN.com (subscription required). Game two of the series is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. on Saturday, while the series finale is set for 1:05 p.m. on Sunday.