Nebraska Rallies to Top K-State in 10 Innings

MANHATTAN, Kan. Kansas State took a one-run lead into the ninth inning, but was unable to hold off a Nebraska rally as the Huskers scored one in the ninth and two in the 10th to take the final game of the three-game series, 5-3, Sunday afternoon at Tointon Family Stadium. With the win, Nebraska sweeps Kansas State winning its 13th-consecutive game and improves its record to 14-2 overall and 3-0 in Big 12 play. Kansas State drops to 7-9 and 0-3 in conference action.


Down 2-0, Kansas State got a jumpstart to the fifth inning as Nate Tenbrink, who was 2-for-3 on the afternoon, led off with a double to left centerfield. He then moved to third base on what should have been a groundout by Rob Vaughn, but Nebraska second baseman Jake Opitz bobbled the ball and rushed the throw, which was in the dirt, and allowed Vaughn to reach on the error. Following an out, Brett Scott came to the plate and on a 1-2 pitch, pushed a ball to the right side for a RBI groundout to plate K-State’s first run. Vaughn, who moved to second on Scott’s groundout, scored from second as Carter Jurica also hit a two-strike, two-out pitch for a RBI single to tie the game at two apiece.


K-State starter Justin Murray, who had a great day allowing just two runs on seven hits, responded to the production of his offense as he came out in the top of the sixth and retired Nebraska in order. The offense followed in turn as it scored the go ahead run in the bottom of the inning. Drew Biery led the sixth off with a walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Byron Wiley. Justin Bloxom followed Wiley with a single to right, which scored Biery and pushed K-State out to a 3-2 lead.


Nebraska had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the seventh as it bounced Murray out of the game. Nick Sullivan led the inning off with a double, but made an error on the base paths in the next at bat. Ben Kline hit a ground ball to Biery at short and Sullivan tried to advance to third, but Biery wisely threw to Tenbrink, who applied the tag for the first out of the inning. Kline, who reached on the fielder’s choice, advanced to second on a wild pitch and then moved to third on a groundout by D.J. Belfonte, which would be the end of Murray’s day. Ben Hornbeck replaced Murray, who immediate threw a wild pitch to allow Belfonte to advance to second. However, the junior regrouped struck out Opitz on a 2-2 pitch to keep the lead for K-State.  


Two scoreless innings followed with K-State still on top and the Wildcats handed the game over to their closer, Daniel Edwards (1-2). Nebraska came out swinging against the righty as David Stewart hit a 0-2 pitch to right field for a leadoff double. Dan Johnston came in to pinch run for Stewart and then moved to third on a Nick Sullivan single to right. Edwards got his first out of the inning as he stuck out Kline, but Belfonte followed with a sacrifice fly to left field on a 1-2 pitch to score the tying run. Mort followed with a strikeout to send the game into the bottom half of the ninth.


In the bottom of the ninth, Tenbrink and Vaughn recorded back-to-back one-out singles to put runners on first and second. However, Nebraska reliever, Mike Nesseth (2-0) proceeded to strike out pinch hitter Derek Bunker and Scott to send the game into extra innings.


The Huskers picked up right where they left off as Opitz singled to right centerfield to start the inning, and then moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt. Following a Bryce Nimmo walk, Opitz went to third on a flyout and then Johnston, who came into the game as a pinch runner in the ninth, came through with a two-RBI single to put the Huskers on top.


Nebraska closer, Erik Anderson, went into the bottom of the 10th with a two-run lead and didn’t let down as he picked up his third save of the season, sitting down the Wildcats in order.


Next action for Kansas State is a two-game midweek series at Brigham Young on Tuesday and Wednesday. First pitch Tuesday from Miller Field is set for 7 p.m. (CT).