NU Baseball Falls at Kansas 5-4
Cody Asche's two-run homer in the third inning gave Nebraska (20-12, 2-5) a 3-2 lead but the Huskers scored only one more run in the fifth before not producing a hit off the Jayhawk relievers as Nebraska fell to Kansas (14-16, 5-5) by a 5-4 final on Friday night in Lawrence, Kan.
The Huskers scored four runs on four hits off KU starter T.J. Walz (4-3) through six innings, as he left the game with a 5-4 lead that Frank Duncan and Colton Murray preserved despite allowing six runners on base through the final two innings.
“I told the team that I didn't think we earned it tonight” head coach Mike Anderson said. “We had some opportunities and didn't take advantage of them. They had one of the better pitchers in the conference (T.J. Walz); we got to him and got his pitch count up and then didn't take advantage of a few things.”
The Huskers had the bases loaded in the eighth and runners on the corners in the ninth with two outs in the last two innings but could not come up with the key hit on closer Colton Murrary, who picked up his sixth save of the season.
Nebraska starter Matt Freeman (4-3) gave up five runs on six hits in 4.1 innings before Casey Hauptman relieved him to throw the final 3.2 innings. Hauptman inherited runners on second and third with one out in the fifth and gave up a pair of singles that resulted in the eventual game-winning run. The senior allowed only one more run the rest of the way but the Husker offense did not tally a hit over the final four innings as its comeback attempt fell short.
Kansas took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a bunt single and error. After Brandon Macias was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, Jason Brunansky's bunt down the third base line led to an errant throw by Freeman to move the runners to second and third. Jimmy Waters then brought Macias home with a groundout to the right side of the infield before Brunansky later scored on a wild pitch strikeout to make it 2-0.
Nebraska took advantage of an error itself in the third to score three runs, highlighted by Asche's two-run homer to right field. The round-tripper scored Bryan Peters after the second baseman doubled home Josh Scheffert, who reached on a throwing error to lead off the inning.
Kansas had a trio of singles in the bottom half of the third to regain the lead at 4-3, marking three of its nine hits on the night, all which were singles. Nebraska tied it in the fifth when Kash Kalkowski drew a bases loaded hit-by-pitch, his team-leading 15th of the season, but the Huskers then grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Nebraska left nine runners on base, including five in the last two innings.
The Huskers and Jayhawks will continue the series Saturday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark at 2 p.m.