NU baseball team hits the road for Sunflower State pair

2014-03-24T18:30:00Z 2014-03-25T22:27:07Z NU baseball team hits the road for Sunflower State pairBy KEN HAMBLETON / Lincoln Journal Star JournalStar.com

Both baseball teams will try to bounce back from Sunday losses when Nebraska plays Wichita State on Tuesday in Wichita, Kan.

Nebraska (13-9, 1-2 Big Ten) dropped Sunday’s game at Iowa 8-4, while Wichita State (14-8, 2-1 Missouri Valley) fell to Missouri State 4-3, as the Bears snapped a nine-game losing streak and a 58-inning scoreless streak.

Millard North graduate Casey Gillaspie, a senior first baseman, has a .393 batting average for the Shockers, who are 9-3 at home. Waverly native and Shocker freshman pitcher Sam Tewes (3-1) has a 2.45 earned-run average, but pitched 3 1/3 innings Sunday and will likely not pitch Tuesday.

Nebraska lost in the bottom of the ninth inning Friday at Iowa, bounced back for a 5-1 win Saturday, but lost the series finale after taking a 3-0 lead Sunday in the Big Ten opening series for both teams.

In response to the two losses at Iowa, the Huskers have shaved their rally mustaches, and NU closer Josh Roeder, who took the loss in Friday’s 2-1 ninth-inning loss, has trimmed his “Duck Dynasty” beard.

Nebraska coach Darin Erstad had said he didn’t mind the facial hair as long as the team won. But he never was concerned. He's more focused on his team finding the groove that helped the Huskers win six of eight games during the last homestand.

“We’ve got to have a more consistent approach at the plate and get guys to throw strikes on a more consistent basis,” Erstad said.

The Huskers were outhit by Iowa 34-23 in the three-game series, and lost late-inning leads in both losses. Husker relievers were also slapped around for seven runs and 12 hits, three walks and a blown save in 5 1/3 innings.

Husker starters were strong last weekend. Christian DeLeon pitched eight innings of shutout ball, Chance Sinclair gave up no earned runs in seven innings, and Aaron Bummer allowed seven hits and three runs in five innings.

The Huskers will face Kansas State (14-9, 1-2), the defending Big 12 champion, Wednesday in Manhattan, Kan. Kansas State’s leading pitcher, Millard North graduate Nate Griep (2-0, 1.42), also pitched over the weekend as the Wildcats took one of three games from Oklahoma.

The Huskers were scheduled to host Kansas State earlier this year but weather forced postponement of the game to April 9 at Haymarket Park.

Briefly

* Nebraska will return home for a weekend series against UNLV with games Friday at 6:35 p.m., Saturday at 2:05 p.m. and Sunday 1:05 p.m.

* The series loss to Iowa was the first time NU has lost a Big Ten series on the road since 2012.

* Nebraska is 2-4 in road games and 5-2 in games at neutral fields this season.

* Kansas State took three games from NU last year.

* Husker freshman center fielder Ryan Boldt is hitting .548 in his last nine weekend games. ... Right fielder Austin Darby is hitting .425 with four doubles and seven RBIs in his last 10 games. He has a .450 on-base percentage and leads the team with 31 hits and 14 walks as the leadoff hitter. ... NU is 1-3 in one-run games. A year ago, NU was 4-11 in one-run games. ... NU's team batting average slipped from .320 to .312 after last weekend, and opponents are hitting .286 against the Huskers.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7313 or khambleton@journalstar.com.

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