Cats’ offense struggles at Nebraska

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A six-run first inning from Nebraska proved to be too much for the Kansas State baseball team to overcome Tuesday night at Hawks Field at Haymarket Park, as K-State dropped the mid-week non-conference matchup, 11-1.

K-State (15-10, 0-3 Big 12) fell behind early after starting pitcher Caleb Littlejim failed to record an out as he walked the first three Nebraska (13-10, 0-0 Big Ten) hitters he faced. The freshman righty hit a batter and then gave up a single before being lifted in favor of reliever Kasey Ford. Ford finished the inning but only after the Huskers plated six runs on three hits, included a three-run double by NU second baseman Jake Schleppenbach.

Ford pitched the next three innings and struck out two and gave up four hits and one unearned run.

Junior-college transfer Hudson Treu tossed a perfect fourth and fifth innings with a pair of strikeouts. Treu, Ford and Colton Kalmus combined to set down nine consecutive Nebraska batters in the middle innings.

K-State did not record its first hit of the game until the fifth inning – an opposite-field single off the bat of Jake Wodtke – and only had three base runners through the game’s first five innings.

The Cats got on the scoreboard in the sixth inning after Josh Ethier led off with a walk and claimed second base on a wild pitch by NU reliever Reece Eddins. After Will Brennan legged out an infield single, K-State had runners on the corners. The next batter, Jake Scudder, reached on an RBI fielder’s choice to score Ethier and cut the Huskers’ lead to, 6-1.

Nebraska tacked on two more runs in the home half of the sixth courtesy of a two-out single by NU leadoff hitter Mojo Hagge, who later scored off a wild pitch by Kalmus. In the inning, Kalmus allowed two hits, two walks and had three wild pitches.

In the eighth, the Cats got two more men aboard after Kyle Barfield reached on an error and Grant Reuben was hit by a pitch. Barfield and Reuben later moved into scoring position but were stranded.

A pinch-hit home run from Nebraska freshman Luke Roskam in the bottom half completed the damage and handed K-State its fourth straight loss, which extends its season-long skid.

Steve Serratore added a single to go along with Brennan’s and Wodtke’s.

Five relief pitchers combined to pitch nine innings and allow six runs (five earned) and allowed 10 hits and struck out six.

K-State returns home to for its second conference series as No. 3 TCU (18-5, 5-1 Big 12) visits Tointon Family Stadium for a three-game set. The entire series with the Horned Frogs will be broadcast worldwide on K-StateHD.TV and can be heard on KMAN 1350 AM, 93.3 FM and the K-State Sports Network as well as streaming free at k-statesports.com.

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