March 30, 2002
Manhattan, Kan. -
No. 8 Nebraska connected on a season-high five home runs, including a pair by designated hitter Jed Morris, as the Cornhuskers evened the series with Kansas State at 1-all with a 22-6 victory in Big 12 Conference baseball game played before 582 fans on Saturday afternoon at Tointon Family Stadium.
The 22 runs scored by Nebraska were the most by a Kansas State opponent since San Diego scored 31 against the Wildcats on Feb. 17, 2002 at the San Diego Showcase in San Diego, Calif. It was also the most scored against a K-State team in Big 12 play since Baylor also tallied 22 on Feb. 26, 1999.
With the win, Nebraska moved to 17-8 on the season and 7-4 in Big 12 Conference play. Kansas State, which saw its season-best four-game winning streak snapped, fell to 15-11 and 2-3 in conference action. Despite being outscored by 16 runs, the Wildcats were still able to pound out 16 hits compared to 19 tallied by the Huskers. However, the Wildcat pitching staff issued seven walks and hit five batters, while the defense committed five errors.
"I was really disappointed with our pitching today," said Wildcat head coach Mike Clark. "Brock (Smith) just wasn't hitting his spots today. They were hitting so well, I think four of their five home runs were with men on base. When you couple the pitching problems with the five errors, you can't expect to win ball games, especially against teams the caliber of Nebraska. We need to forget about this one and get ready for tomorrow."
Nebraska jumped on the scoreboard immediately, as outfielder Jeff Leise led off the game with a home run followed two batters later by designated hitter Jed Morris' two-run shot that gave the Cornhuskers a 3-0 lead. Kansas State came back with four runs in the bottom of the second, on RBI singles by first baseman Brett Williams and shortstop Osmar Castillo.
Nebraska grabbed the lead back for good in the top of the third inning with a four-run inning of its own. Morris connected on his second home run of the game to lead off the inning followed by a RBI-double by first baseman Matt Hopper and a two-RBI single by catcher John Grose. The Huskers then added to their lead with a run in the fourth and two each in the fifth and sixth inning before blowing the game open with an eight-run seventh inning. Kansas State added a single run in the bottom of the seventh on a RBI-single by third baseman Ty Soto before Nebraska pushed the lead to 22-5 with a pair of runs in the top of the ninth. The Wildcats finished the scoring in the bottom of the ninth with a triple by outfielder Pat Maloney and a RBI-single by designated hitter Tim Doty.
Williams led four Wildcats with multiple-hit games, as the junior transfer went a perfect 4-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored. Castillo went 3-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored, while Maloney and Soto each continued their hot-hitting with 3-for-5 afternoons.
Morris and Grose each had four RBIs to lead Nebraska on three-hit performances, while outfielder Daniel Bruce scored four runs.
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Jason Burch (3-1) picked up the win in relief of starter Jamie Rodrigue, as he allowed just one run on six hits with two strikeouts and two walks in five innings of work. Senior left-handed pitcher Brock Smith dropped to 1-3 on the season, as he allowed six runs (all earned) on seven hits with one strikeout in just two innings.
Kansas State concludes its three-game series with Nebraska on Sunday beginning at 1 p.m. Junior right-handed pitcher Kevin Melcher (3-1) is scheduled to take the mound for the Wildcats, while sophomore left-handed pitcher Aaron Marsden (1-0) is slated to start for Nebraska.