Huskers Top Wildcats, 11-4, Saturday

MANHATTAN, Kan. Kansas State could not overcome the six early runs Nebraska put on the board as the Huskers pounded out 16 hits on six different Wildcat pitchers en route to an 11-4 victory Saturday afternoon at Tointon Family Stadium. With the win, Nebraska takes the series and improves to 13-2 overall and 2-0 in Big 12 play. Kansas State falls to 7-8 and 0-2.


For the second-straight day, Nebraska received a great outing from its starting pitcher starter as Thad Weber (3-1) went seven innings and gave up just one run on four hits and stuck out nine Wildcats, while issuing just two walks. He retired nine of the first 11 Wildcat batters to hold the Cats down and allow his offense to do the rest.


Four of Nebraska’s 16 hits went for extra bases as five different Huskers had multi-hit days, while three recorded multiple RBI on the afternoon. Kansas State was led offensively by Jordan Cruz and Brett Scott, each recording two hits. Scott also had a RBI single, which produced the first run of the day for the Wildcats.


Nebraska had a chance to score in the first inning with runners on second and third with two outs, but came away empty handed. However, the Huskers would not waste their opportunities the next three innings. Craig Corriston and Tyler Farst led the second inning off with back-to-back base hits, and each moved up 90 feet on a sacrifice bunt by Ben Kline. Dan Johnston followed with an RBI groundout to give the Huskers the early 1-0 lead.


The Huskers jumped out to a 3-0 lead with a pair of runs in the third as Jake Mort led the inning off with a single and Jake Opitz followed with a two-RBI home run. Mitch Abeita singled through the right side and two batters later, Craig Corriston hit a one-out double down the right field line, which knocked K-State starter Chase Bayuk (0-2) out of the game. Justin Lindsey came on in relief for the Cats and intentionally walked the first batter he saw to load the bases with one out. However, the freshman was able to get himself out of the jam as he forced Ben Kline into a lineout to short and stuck out Johnston to end the threat for a big inning and give his offense a chance to get back into the game.


Kansas State had a scoring opportunity in the bottom of the third as Adam Muenster led the inning off with a single to right center. Following a strikeout, Scott singled into the hole between the shortstop and the third baseman to give the Cats runners on first and second with one out. However, Weber stuck out Dane Yelovich and Cruz to retire the side and keep K-State scoreless.


Nebraska used the momentum gained from its pitcher in the top of the fourth as the Huskers doubled their run total to break away from Kansas State. Mort hit a one-out single up the middle and went first to third on an Opitz single through the right side. Opitz then stole second base during Abeita’s at bat, which resulted in a hit-by-pitch to load the bases. Thomas Rooke came in to relief Lindsey and surrendered a sacrifice fly by Bryce Nimmo to score Mort and move Opitz to third. Abieta then stole second and both he and Opitz scored on Corriston’s single down the right line to give Nebraska a 6-0 lead.


Trying to get things going in the bottom of the inning, Kansas State got runners on second and third without recording a base hit. Drew Biery earned a one-out walk and then moved to second when Nate Tenbrink reached by way of an error by Johnston. Both Biery and Tenbrink moved up on a balk by Weber, but the righty calmed down and coaxed Byron Wiley into a ground out and struck out Muenster to end the Wildcats best threat to get back into the game.


Kansas State scored runs in the final three innings. Wiley led the seventh off with a single and then moved to second on a wild pitch. Wiley got to third on a groundout by Muenster and scored when Scott singled to centerfield. In the eighth, K-State got back-to-back doubles by Jordan Cruz and Biery to produce one run. Biery moved to third on a single by pinch hitter J.J. Muse and then scored on a bases-loaded walk by freshman catcher Shaun Deisler. In the ninth, Jason King hit a sacrifice fly to center, which scored Tyler Ruch, but the Nebraska lead was insurmountable.


The series finale between Kansas State and Nebraska is set for a 1 p.m. first pitch Sunday at Tointon Family Stadium.