Lincoln, NE - Early runs and solid pitching early and late in the game helped the Nebraska Cornhuskers down Kansas State on Tuesday night, 6-3.
The Huskers (18-9, 2-1 Big Ten) scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning, highlighted by a check swing hit into right field by Kurt Farmer that scored Chad Christensen.
"They did a great job. They got in our face right away in the first inning with a walk and a hit and run," said Kansas State head coach Brad Hill. "They are aggressive and stealing bases. They looked good."
Making his first start of the season, Brandon Pierce improved to 3-1 on the year after a three inning, no run performance. The sophomore from Texas made three starts last year in 20 appearances.
"I thought he did a great job," said Nebraska head coach Darin Erstad. "He commanded the strike zone better today than he has all year or even last year."
Nebraska wrapped up a 17-game home stand with a 12-5 record, including wins over Cal (x2), Kansas State (x2), and Illinois. Tuesday night's crowd was 4,155, pushing their total attendance for the home stand to 52,367.
"We had fantastic crowds and fantastic weather. It's tough to stay locked in for that long of a period time, we had a lot of games. Our guys did a great job," said Erstad. "Our big test will come. Do we remember how to play on the road?
"Kansas State is a very good baseball team. They have a lot of young talented arms and we jumped on them early and held it down. That's a big win against a Big 12 team. We just took care of business.
It was evident from the start the Huskers were excited for tonight's contest, after posting three runs in the first, one reporter stated it sounded like a "softball game."
"I didn't say a word to them. I asked them before the game if they needed me to yell at them a little bit and they said ‘they got it,' I was like ‘alright.' They came prepared and were ready to play.
"Tonight showed me a lot, they started school again, and had baseball as well. They came ready to play today."
Nebraska will travel to Northwestern for a three-game conference road stand, starting Friday night.
* Nebraska used a total of six pitchers, closing the game out with Travis Huber (4th save)
* Rich Sanguinetti recorded three hits on Tuesday, pushing his average to .340 on the year.
* Leadoff hitter Michael Pritchard, who went 1-for-3 on the night, saw his batting average drop below .400.
Brandon Pierce on starting: "I'm really not changing anything, whether I'm coming in the 7th or the 8th inning. I'm still trying to put up a zero…I didn't have any expectations to throw a seven inning shutout like Hirsch did the other day. That's not what I was supposed to do. When they give me the ball, I'm just supposed to pitch. That's all I'm worried about."
* This is Nebraska's second win over Kansas State this season, taking their first contest 9-6 in the Huskers home opener. Nebraska will have one game next week with the Wildcats in Lawrence, but have already taken the series.