K-State welcomes former Big 12 member Nebraska for one-off series

Head Coach Brad Hill talks with assistant head coach Andy Sawyers about the game play during the K-State vs. Santa Clara baseball game series on March 6, 2015 at Tointon Family Stadium. The Wildcats took a victory throughout the three day game series with 4-1 on Day 1, 17-5 on Day 2, and 10-3 on Day 3. (File Photo by Cassandra Nguyen | The Collegian)

After a less-than-stellar start to Big 12 play, K-State baseball will look to former Big 12 foe Nebraska for an opportunity to right its ship.

No. 23 Nebraska (23-10, 3-3) heads to Manhattan for a one-game series tonight after being swept in a three-game away series against No. 17 Maryland this past weekend. The Huskers were blown out by Maryland in the first two matchups before losing on a walk-off heartbreaker in game three to conclude the series.

Before the sweep, though, Nebraska had been riding high on a five-game winning streak, including a home sweep over No. 16 Texas.

The Wildcats (13-16, 2-7) are coming off of a heartbreaker of their own, giving up the series and the game to West Virginia on Saturday in the ninth inning. A win would have secured the team’s first Big 12 series win since Easter weekend 2014.

Offensively, K-State has struggled to plate base runners. In the seven losses dating back to March 15’s 10-7 defeat to Missouri State, the Wildcats have not scored more than three runs. In K-State’s three wins during that period, the Wildcats have scored three, four and eight runs, respectively.

This was especially the case last weekend, as the Wildcats were able to plate eight runs in the first game of the West Virginia series and win, but then scored a combined five runs in the next two games, which resulted in two losses.

K-State is slated to send junior starting pitcher Kyle Halbohn (2-2, ERA 3.94) to the mound to take on undefeated Husker Garret King (3-0, 2.00 ERA).

Halbohn’s last start was one the Wildcats would like to forget, as the right-hander was chased after one inning pitched and six runs on seven hits in K-State’s 12-3 loss to No. 12 Oklahoma State.

Despite struggling in conference play, K-State has excelled against nonconference opposition, particularly at home. The Wildcats are 6-2 against nonconference home opponents this season and 33-7 since 2013.

Even though Nebraska leads the all-time series record 112-166, K-State has had the Cornhuskers’ number at home, winning seven of the last eight games since 2009. K-State is 71-74 against Nebraska all-time in Manhattan.

First pitch between K-State and No. 23 Nebraska is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. tonight at Tointon Family Stadium.