This is becoming redundant, talk of Ben Miller’s play. But you can’t ignore what Nebraska’s senior first baseman-pitcher has done of late.
Miller pitched and continued his hot hitting on Tuesday night, during the Huskers’ 6-1 victory against Kansas State in Manhattan. He pitched the first three innings, bringing his season total to eight scoreless. He remained in the game as Nebraska’s designated hitter and went 2-for-5 at-bat, with two doubles and two runs-batted-in.
Two’s were wild, you could say, because Tuesday was Miller’s 22nd birthday.
He was also supposed to pitch only two innings, but his pitch count was such – 42, including 27 strikes – that he worked a third, and pitching coach Ted Silva considered sending him out for a fourth, Coach Darin Erstad said on his post-game show on the IMG radio network.
Erstad said three innings were enough.
Miller mixed fastballs and changeups, according to Erstad, retiring the final seven batters he faced after giving up a walk and a two-out double for Kansas State’s only run in the first inning.
Nebraska tied the game in the fourth on Luis Alvarado’s two-out single and took the lead in the fifth on back-to-back singles by Jesse Wilkening and Jake Schleppenbach, a sacrifice bunt by Mojo Hagge and a sacrifice fly by Angelo Altavilla. Hagge and Miller each drove in two runs in the seventh.
Jake McSteen, the first of four pitchers who followed Miller, earned the victory. He’s now 3-0.
Robbie Palkert, Nate Fisher and Alvarado each pitched one inning.
Wilkening was the only other Husker with more than one hit, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
Scott Schreiber, who has been struggling at-bat and went hitless during the weekend’s Maryland series, was given the night off, Erstad said during his radio interview, noting: “He’s totally fine. We just wanted to give him (a) mental and physical day of rest, and it worked out good.”
The victory, Nebraska’s second against the Wildcats this season, was its 15th in the last 19 games, with a tie. The Huskers are now 20-11-1, while Kansas State drops to 16-16.
Nebraska’s next action is a Big Ten weekend series against Iowa at Hawks Field.
Mike is in his 40th year covering Husker athletics, after seven years of community-college teaching. He has written and edited a dozen books, all on Nebraska football except one, a brief history of Husker basketball. He previously wrote for the Lincoln Journal and Star and Huskers Illustrated. He enjoys music, from the Grateful Dead and Jack Johnson to Van Morrison, Bob Wills, Glenn Miller and pretty much anyone else.