Time: March 8th (Tue.) @ 6:00 p.m
Location: Tointon Baseball Stadium, Manhattan, Kansas
Record(s): Nebraska (4-7) Kansas State (3-7)
Head Coach(s): Will Bolt & Pete Hughes
Radio: Husker Sports Network
After two split doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday against Northwestern State and UT Arlington, the Huskers are heading up to Manhattan (KS) after going 3-1 on the weekend. Will Bolt and his squad finally have something to build off of going into a noticeably tougher portion of their schedule.
The Huskers started the weekend off with an absolute gem from Koty Frank, who continues to be the most effective pitcher for the Huskers thus far. Kyle Perry also rebounded once again with total command for all of game 2, Colby Gomes uncharacteristically imploded in the ninth for the Huskers to fall a run short.
Shay Schanaman put the team on his back on Saturday with a complete game shutout with 8 strikeouts and a single walk as a response to Friday’s loss. Drew McCarville did a fine job in game 4 and the Huskers sealed the deal with a bit of classic small ball to end the weekend.
Offensively, Griffin Everitt has arguably been the team’s MVP through the first three weeks, and this weekend he continued his hot start to the season with a two-run bomb to start off the first game of the weekend. Brice Matthews saw a little bit more in the leadoff spot this weekend which is a promising sign of life for the Nebraska infielder.
On the other side of this move, Leighton Banjoff looked a lot more comfortable this weekend in the middle of the order after getting a hit in three of the four games. The offense is still off to a slow start, but we saw some flashes of what it can be capable of doing this weekend.
The Huskers are heading back home but will stop on the way back to face-off against the Kansas State Wildcats on their turf. The Wildcats are looking to flip the season around after their slow start as well, also coming off of a hot weekend against Loyola Marymount.
The Huskers will be looking to build some more momentum moving into next week as they potentially try to fill this weekends cancelled series against Long Beach State. 6’4 230 lb lefty Emmett Olson will be making his first college start for Nebraska.
Kansas State Wildcats:
March 8th: at Kansas State 6:00pm cst
The Wildcats are currently 3-7 on the season and it has not been a pretty stretch for them. They started off the year losing five straight, including two games against CSU Bakersfield before finally picking up their first win against them. Recently they absolutely overpowered Loyola Marymount this past weekend however in the first and second games, after being routed 7-14 in the series finale.
K-State is still looking for a spark as they have yet to do much through ten games. Offensively the Wildcats have produced more than the Huskers however with a team batting average of .281 compared to the Cornhuskers .270. They have scored seven more runs than the Huskers and have a .781 OPS compared to Nebraska’s .697. Redshirt senior catcher Justin Mitchell is leading the team with a .375 batting average. Omaha native and Creighton Prep grad Dylan Phillips is having a good start to the season with three home runs and eight RBI to go with his .302 batting average. Sophomore outfielder Dominic Johnson is a dangerous hitter as well, leading the team with 44 hits. Orlando Salinas Jr. also owns a .367 average. The Wildcats are currently underproducing but offer a dynamic lineup that has the talent to pretty dangerous.
On the pitching end, the Huskers will be facing a righty in Griffin Hassall. He has proven to be effective for the Huskies in the past but brings an 0-2 record into Wednesday’s contest, but has only given up six hits this year to a 2.45 ERA. The Wildcats do have a significantly higher team ERA in the Huskers and that is where the Huskers will look to do damage. Nico Rodriguez and Tyler Ruhl are both players who are certain to come out of the bullpen for the Wildcats at some point but each hold a 6.00 ERA to their names. Sophomore Blake Corsentino owns a 3.86 ERA in 11.2 innings but is occasionally used as a starter, whether we see him come into the game will depend on how coach Pete Hughes looks to use him in a one game series.
Overall the Cornhuskers and the Wildcats have played pretty evenly so far, although Nebraska seems to be pretty confident moving forward after going 3-1 in Texas. The Huskers have a confident and hot arm on the mound in Emmett Olson and the Wildcat bullpen is one that can be slapped around a bit against a talented lineup such as Nebraska. Don’t be surprised if this game presents a classic pitchers duel.
Prediction: Huskers win this one 4-2.