Huskers down Lopers

Photo
The Husker’s Ty Kildow attempts to drive in a run against the Lopers in the second inning.

Story and Photo by Tom Grant, NewsNetNebraska

The 40-degree weather wasn’t quite full of sunshine like Tuesday afternoon, but in the end, the results for the Husker baseball team remained the same. Nebraska continued their winning ways with a 4-1 victory over visiting Kearney, the Huskers’ eighth win in nine games.

The Husker struck first in the bottom of the third inning with Stucky doubling to center and advancing to third on a passed ball from the Kearney catcher. Richard Stock’s infield single scored Stucky and gave the Huskers a 1-0 lead after three complete innings.

Dexter Spitsnogle started the game on the mound for the Huskers before giving the ball over to reliever Ryan Hander after three solid innings of work. Hander was quickly forced into action after giving up a leadoff single and walking a batter before finally escaping the jam with fly ball to centerfielder Ty Kildow. Hander calmed down following his open-inning jitters and followed with two straight 1-2-3 innings of his own.

UNK got out of a jam of their own in the bottom of the fifth inning after two hits and walk loaded the bases for third baseman Blake Headley. With two outs and facing an 0-2 count, Headley went down looking to help the Lopers keep the score 1-0 after five innings of play.

Nebraska was finally able to break things open in the bottom of the sixth inning when they scored three runs on three hits led by Kale Kiser. Kiser started off the inning with a solo home run to right field to double the Husker lead. It was Kiser’s second home run in two days.

“I’ve been seeing the ball well the last couple of days,” Kiser commented after the game. “It took awhile but the ball is starting to fall a little bit for me and that’s how baseball works sometimes.”

Kildow then reached first following Kiser’s home run with a walk before advancing to third on an error by Kearney first baseman Eric Ringbloom. Darby would than drive in Kildow with a single to right before a fielder’s choice by Chad Christensen scored Richard Stucky to cap the inning and mount a 4-0 Husker lead.

Reliever Jeff Stovall replaced Hander for the 7th and was quickly welcomed to the game by Chase Sexton who doubled off the left field wall. Kearney native Brandon Landanger then drove Sexton in with a bloop single to right that got the Lopers on the board with their first run of the day.

The Husker bullpen continued their solid run using three different pictures in the final three innings to close out the tight contest. Head coach Darin Erstad said he was pleased with how his bullpen has responded after a tough start to the season.

“We have a lot of faith in those guys and they threw the ball well today,” Erstad said. “We’ll need them all season and we knew they’d bounce back.”

Following a solid win over Big 12 member Kansas State on Tuesday afternoon, Erstad said his coaches preached the importance of not getting caught up against a smaller instate school like UNK before a big weekend series against visiting California.

“We talked about all (possible distractions) before the game,” Erstad said. “This was a trap game and we came out a little flat. We were lucky to win.”