Nebraska splits with Wildcat baseball on the season

Senior Josh Nicoloff watches the batter during the April 24, 2022 game against UC Irvine. (Sophie Osborn | Collegian Media Group)

Kansas State baseball stormed into Lincoln, Nebraska, winning the past six out of eight contests — including home series’ wins against Texas and UC Irvine and two mid-week games — all of which were home games. The Cornhuskers reminded K-State of its visiting woes as Nebraska defended their turf, winning an 8-6 showdown.

“We let guys all over the base paths and only had five hits tonight, you can’t beat anyone doing that,” head coach Pete Hughes said to K-State Athletics. “Eight walks, four hit batters and an error – just not clean baseball. Too many free baserunners running around, and we couldn’t stay away from the big inning, that’s what cost us.”

Nebraska jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning, but a five-run fourth created obstacles for the Wildcats. The crooked number put the Huskers up 7-4 at the time, responding to a pair of K-State two-run innings.

The first pair of runs came in the third inning when Josh Nicoloff and Dylan Phillips hit back-to-back RBI singles to knot the game at two runs. Then, K-State scored the second pair of runs in the fourth inning, giving the Wildcats a two-run advantage.

Unfortunately for the Wildcats, that’s when Big Red’s bats exploded into a frenzy. Core Jackson lit the offensive fireworks by scoring fellow freshman Gabe Swansen on a triple.

Cam Chick smacked a consecutive triple to score Jackson, then an RBI-ground out at shortstop Nick Goodwin to even the score and a two-run homer to expand the lead.

All five runs were tagged by K-State reliever Ty Ruhl, who was awarded the loss after 1.2 innings pitched. The loss evens his win-loss record at 2-2.

A sizzling-hot Jeff Heinrich kept the Wildcat’s paws in reach by launching his fourth home run in the past five games. The homer down the left-field line cut Nebraska’s lead at 7-6 but concluded K-State’s scorecard.

K-State used a plethora of arms in the mid-week loss, unlike the previous meeting at Tointon Family Stadium on March 9, where K-State won 6-4.

In K-State’s win on March 9, Griffin Hassall earned his first win of the season and Colin Rothermel sealed the deal. In Tuesday’s match-up, K-State pitched Wesley Moore (2 ER), Ty Ruhl (5 ER), German Fajardo (ER), Christian Ruebeck and Dylan Phillips.

The Wildcats travel for a crucial series against Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma, Friday-Sunday. The Sooners sit fifth in the Big 12 standings, behind the conference’s four ranked squads: No. 8 Oklahoma State, No. 9 Texas Tech, No. 10 Texas and No. 20 TCU.

The game kicks off at 6:30 p.m. on Friday at L. Dale Mitchell Park. Viewing is limited to Bally Sports Oklahoma, while listening is available on KMAN Radio.