Two costly errors from a couple Nebraska infielders—one each from Max Anderson at third base and Brice Matthews at shortstop—opened the door for a five-run fourth inning for the Kansas State Wildcats on Wednesday afternoon in a snow-scattered Tointon Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas.
Those mistakes helped put the Huskers in a 5-1 hole, which proved to be too deep to climb out of as Nebraska suffered its eighth loss of the season, 6-4, to drop to 4-8 on the year. With the win, Kansas State improved to 4-7. Wednesday’s game was the first midweek contest for Nebraska since March 11, 2020.
In total, the Huskers committed three errors on the 36-degree day. The third, also charged to Matthews on a routine grounder that he airmailed into the camera bay behind first base, eventually led to an unearned run in the fifth, giving the Wildcats a 6-1 edge. The mistakes defensively really hurt the team as only two of Kansas State’s six runs were earned.
Nebraska’s offense was slow to get anything going as it was outhit 8-6 and left four runners on base in the loss. The Huskers grabbed a 1-0 lead in the third when Luke Sartori got to first with a two-out walk, then Luke Jessen, a freshman from Elkhorn South, brought him home shortly after with an RBI double.
Looking for a rally late in the game, the Huskers managed to tack on two runs in the seventh and one in the ninth before a strikeout from sophomore Jack Steil sealed the win for the Wildcats. In the seventh, the Huskers got a pair of RBI hits from freshman Core Jackson and Steil. Jackson, the Huskers’ lone player from Canada, connected on a double to left-center that scored catcher Griffin Everitt, who led off the inning with a single. Steil then singled to left that plated Jackson from second.
Jackson continued his strong outing in the ninth, using his speed to record a triple to left. Efry Cervantes then brought Jackson home with a groundout to short to cut the Kansas State lead to 6-4. That was all the Big Red rally had in it, though.
On the pitching front, Emmett Olson, who came into the game with a 1.64 earned-run average in four appearances this season, started the game on the mound for head coach Will Bolt. Olson, a 6-foot-4, 230-pounder from Illinois, recorded the loss as he lasted three innings while allowing seven hits and two earned runs. He struck out four and walked one batter.
The three relief pitchers that saw action in the loss—Mason Ornelas, Tyler Martin and CJ Hood—combined to throw five innings and none gave up an earned run.
Ornelas, a transfer from Texas A&M, allowed the only hit of the trio while striking out one and walking two in two innings of work. Martin and Hood, a big 6-4 righty from nearby Norris High School in Firth, Nebraska, each struck out two batters.
Up next for Nebraska is a home-and-home against Nebraska-Omaha (4-9) beginning on Sunday. The Huskers will travel to Omaha to play the Mavs on Sunday with first pitch slated for 3 p.m. at Tal Anderson Field. Monday’s game will be Nebraska’s home opener, and it’ll get started at 1 p.m.
Long Beach State was originally supposed to be the Huskers’ home-opening series for this weekend, but due to the forecasted inclement weather and field conditions, it was canceled.