April 16, 2011
LINCOLN, Neb. – Nebraska scored single runs in three innings and the Husker bullpen pitched three shutout frames as Kansas State fell to Nebraska, 3-2, in the series opener Saturday afternoon at Hawks Field.
With the loss, the Wildcats fell to 19-14 overall and 4-9 in Big 12 play, while NU improved to 23-13 on the year and 4-6 in conference action.
Kansas State trailed 3-1 entering the seventh inning against Nebraska starter Matt Freeman (5-3), who retired a batter in the third to get out of a first and third situation before sitting down nine of the next 10 Wildcats. Jared King led off the frame with a single and scored when Wade Hinkle doubled into the left-center field gap to close the deficit to one.
Dylan Vogt came out of the Husker bullpen to face Jake Brown, who sacrificed pinch-runner Luke White to third base. Chase Graskewicz was next and attempted a squeeze bunt, but it went right back to Vogt who threw home to get White before catcher Patric Tolentino threw out Graskewicz at first for the inning-ending double play.
Vogt then retired K-State in order in the eighth before Nebraska closer Casey Hauptman worked a perfect ninth to pick up his fifth save of the year.
“It just boiled down to who was going to make mistakes, and they made the plays,” head coach Brad Hill said. “We didn’t get enough balls elevated and we didn’t have enough well-struck balls to put ourselves over the top offensively.”
Freeman picked up the win as he allowed two earned runs on six hits with a walk and five strikeouts. The other earned run he gave up came in the top of the first when Jason King hit a two-out home run over the wall in right-center field, his seventh of the season.
K-State starter Kyle Hunter (3-3) was saddled with the loss as he surrendered three runs – only two of which were earned – on five hits with four walks and four strikeouts.
Kurt Farmer was the only batter in the contest to tally a multi-hit game as he went 2-for-4 with a RBI single in the third inning that gave Nebraska a 2-1 lead.
Following King’s homer, Nebraska tied the game in the second when a two-out error by Brown extended the inning. Hunter then issued a walk to load the bases and balked in a run during the next at-bat.
In the fifth, Kash Kalkowski walked and moved to third on a two-out single by Chad Christensen. K-State then elected to go to the bullpen and bring in Evan Marshall, who surrendered a RBI single to pinch-hitter Michael Pritchard on his first pitch as Nebraska took its two-run lead.
Marshall was able to settle down after the single and sat down eight of the next nine batters he faced with five strikeouts. He did begin a stretch of three-straight hit batters to load the bases in the eighth inning, but Jared Moore came into the game to strike out Cody Asche and keep the Husker lead at one.
“It seemed like we were pitching under pressure all day long,” Hill said. “Kyle did what he could. Evan came in and made a mistake right away to the first guy, but he settled in a pitched pretty well. Jared also gave us a chance there striking out a guy in the eighth.”
Nick Martini’s third-inning single extended his streak of consecutive games reaching base safely to 93.
Kansas State continues its series with Nebraska on Sunday with a 1:05 p.m., first pitch at Hawks Field. The game can be heard in the Manhattan area on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN and online at both www.k-statesports.com and www.1350kman.com.