It is finally time for K-State baseball and its fans to breathe a sigh of relief. Entering Tuesday’s game against Nebraska, the Wildcats had not won a road game since February 28 against Utah.
A month. K-State had not won a road game in a month.
Behind the pitching of senior Brandon Erickson, who improved to 1-0 with the win and gave up no runs in four innings, and the bat of junior first baseman Jake Scudder, K-State defeated Nebraska by a score of 4-2 and snapped a four-game losing streak. The Wildcats are now 13-17 overall while the Huskers are 19-9.
“Erickson gave us a good start, number one,” K-State head coach Brad Hill said to K-State Sports. “A senior going out there and throwing up zeros (on the scoreboard). And then Jordan came in and really saved the day for us.”
The Huskers had their chance to take the lead early in the bottom of the first inning. Nebraska had runners on the corners with only one out recorded. But back-to-back strikeouts from sophomore infielder Scott Schreiber and freshman catcher Jesse Wilkening ended the inning with both men left on base.
K-State could not have started off the second inning any better, as Scudder took the first pitch of the second inning over the right field fence for a home run and a 1-0 lead.
Nebraska went hitless at the plate in the second and third innings, while the Wildcats built on their lead in the fourth.
With senior outfielder Danny Krause at first and Scudder at second, senior shortstop Tyler Wolfe singled into right center and brought home Scudder for the 2-0 lead.
Scudder went two-for-four at the plate on Tuesday, scoring two runs and walking once. He accumulated a .315 average on the night.
K-State continued its dominant performance, holding the Huskers scoreless through the first five innings and taking a 3-0 lead in the top of the sixth when senior catcher Tyler Moore crossed the plate as a result of an error by Nebraska sophomore pitcher Reece Eddins.
The Huskers broke onto the scoreboard in the sixth inning when freshman pitcher Corey Wright walked two batters. Wilkening singled and drove in senior infielder Jake Placzek, cutting the lead to 3-1.
After that run, the Wildcats and Huskers swapped one run each with each other.
K-State responded to Nebraska’s score in the next inning when Moore singled and junior infielder Jake Wodtke scored from second base.
Placzek was the answer for Nebraska again in the bottom of the eighth when he scored a run off of a wild pitch from freshman Brogan Heinan and made it a 4-2 game in favor of the Wildcats.
But the inning was not over for the Huskers, and they gave K-State’s lead a scare.
Nebraska loaded the bases with no outs in the inning, but the Wildcats’ defense proved strong.
Sophomore infielder-outfielder Luis Alvarado hit the pitch back to K-State junior pitcher Brandon Floyd on the mound and he sent it back home, where Nebraska junior first baseman Ben Miller was recorded out at home. One out.
Freshman utility player Ben Klenke struck out swinging. Two outs.
Finally, senior catcher Taylor Fish took a pitch to the shortstop, and Alvarado was thrown out at second base. Three outs and the Wildcats avoided a late-game disaster and a fifth-straight loss.
“We were solid defensively,” Hill said. “That’s what has been kind of beating us. We also pitched through some walks. We were able to minimize some bad walks and played good defense, which is what we have not been doing.”
The Wildcats will be in action again at 6:35 p.m. Friday when they begin a three-game series against the Texas Longhorns at Tointon Family Stadium.