Wind chills at Eck Stadium dipped near the freezing mark but failed to chill Nebraska’s bats.
The Huskers, who entered Tuesday’s game hitting .312 as a team, pounded out 17 hits and continually thwarted Wichita State for a 7-3 victory.
“Their bats were on fire,” Shockers coach Todd Butler said. “Seventeen hits, seven runs … pretty much they took it to us.”
WSU (14-9) surged to an early 3-0 lead, scoring two in the first on Chase Simpson’s single and one in the second on Tyler Baker’s home run.
But Nebraska (14-9) knocked out WSU starter Kris Gardner (1-2) with a three-run third, and the Shockers only had one true scoring threat after that.
In the seventh, Erik Harbutz singled to center on a 3-2 pitch, and Dayne Parker was hit by a Kyle Kubat pitch. Another lefty, Zach Hirsch, relieved Kubat, and Casey Gillaspie sent Hirsch’s first pitch deep to left field. But Huskers left fielder Michael Pritchard made the catch on the warning track, and Hirsch allowed one hit the rest of the way.
“When Casey Gillaspie comes up, there’s a lot of hope,” Butler said. “He hit the ball to the warning track, and I thought the ball was leaving the yard. You’re waiting for him to come up so he can do some damage – and he does most of the time.”
Huskers coach Darin Erstad said his team wanted Gillaspie to be hitting with no one on.
“The two times nobody’s on base, he gets hits, and the two times guys are on base he doesn’t get a hit,” he said with a chuckle. “The game makes no sense. We caught a break with a cold night and the ball not traveling.”
The Shockers put up nine hits, but lacked the key one after the second inning.
Meanwhile, Nebraska had hits in every inning except for the first and at least one base runner in each inning.
“It’s just the game of baseball: If you put balls in play and you’re not trying to hit home runs and you stay flat with the baseball, you find holes some days – some days you don’t,” Erstad said. “It’s a crazy game.”
Kubat (1-1), who entered the game with a 6.17 ERA, settled down after the early inning trouble. He allowed eight hits in 6 2/3 innings, walking one and striking out two.
Even though this wasn’t a night for pitchers, Shockers senior left-hander Drew Palmer turned in 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. He allowed four hits and struck out two with no walks.
“He’s a competitor,” Butler said. “We had a chance when he was in the game. He did a fantastic job. Palmer did a good job of giving us a chance to come back.”
Wichita State will send Garrett Brummett (1-0) to the mound Wednesday at Oral Roberts.
E — . DP — WSU 2. LOB — NU 10, WSU 7. 2B — Lubach (5), Reveles (7), Pritchard (7), Bayliff (5). HR — Baker (2).
|Kubat W,1-1||6 2/3||8||3||1||1||2||4.92|
|Hirsch S,2||2 1/3||1||0||0||0||3||1.53|
|K. Gardner L,1-2||2 2/3||6||4||4||1||2||9.64|
PB — Lubach, Baker. HBP — Only (by Palmer), Parker (by Kubat). Umpires — home, Doug McClure; first, Brad Price; third, Bob Homolka. T — 2:49. A — 2,596.