In the opener, Nebraska (17-2, 2-0 Big 12) used a first-inning grand slam by Luke Gorsett and used four-hit days from Bryce Nimmo and Brandon Buckman while pounding out 16 hits. Gorsett's four RBIs were as a career high, as were the four-hit days by both Nimmo and Buckman.
In game two, Tony Watson and Brett Jensen combined on a three-hitter, as the Huskers scored twice in the seventh to break a 1-1 deadlock to clinch the season series with the Jayhawks (16-10, 1-4 Big 12) for the eighth straight year. Watson improved to 4-0, as he fanned a career-high 10 Jayhawks over seven innings, while Jensen retired all six hitters he faced for his fourth save.
"There were lots of highs today," Nebraska Coach Mike Anderson said. "I was really encouraged that we started out strong, and we finished strong. We had great defense all day long and played good fundamental baseball."
The Huskers, who have won 13 straight games and 21 straight at Hawks Field dating back to last May, will go for the sweep in the series finale Sunday at 1:05 p.m.
Nebraska, which had not played since March 17, wasted little time shaking off the rust in the opener, scoring six runs in the first off Jayhawk starter Sean Land, who didn't get out of the second and took the loss to fall to 4-4 on the years.
"I'm excited for our kids obviously," Anderson said. "We were anxious to just start playing again. We have have been indoors for eight straight days, so it was one of those things where we wanted to get going."
Two hits and a walk loaded the bases for Gorsett, who launched a 3-2 pitch into the Jayhawk bullpen for his Big 12-leading ninth homer of the year. The shot was the first grand slam by a Husker since the 2004 season. NU continued the assault with RBI singles from Jeff Christy and Nimmo, giving NU starter Joba Chamberlain all the offensive support he would need.
Chamberlain, making his first appearance since March 3, was efficient, allowing one run on five hits over 6.1 innings to earn his third win in four starts. The All-American retired the first 11 Jayhawks he faced and didn't allow a run until John Allman's solo homer to lead off the fifth, after he was staked to a seven-run lead
The Huskers pushed the lead to 9-1, putting up single runs in the fifth and sixth innings. In the fifth, Jake Opitz walked, stole second and eventually scored on Nick Jaros' ground out before Opitz added and RBI single one inning later.
The opening was a little rockier for Watson in the nightcap, as the left-hander walked two and allowed a single to load the bases just three batters into the contest. He got out of the jam with minimal damage, allowing a sacrifice fly to Gus Milner to spot the visitors a 1-0 lead.
NU would get back the run in the bottom of the frame, as Nimmo opened the frame with a double and eventually scored on Brandon Buckman's grounder to second.
Watson and KU starter Ricky Fairchild kept both offenses at bay until the seventh, when the Huskers strung together some hits for a key rally. Watson (4-0) allowed just three hits and retired the final 12 hitters he faced as his seven innings matched the longest outing of his career.
In the seventh, Steve Edlefsen was hit by a pitch to open the inning before a fielder's choice put Nimmo on first with one out. The Husker center fielder then stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by Dylan Parzyk. Ryan Wehle, who went 2-for-4 in the nightcap, then sent Fairchild's 2-1 pitch into center, scoring Nimmo with the go-ahead run. Wehrle then stole second and scored on Brandon Buckman's RBI single off KU closer Don Czyz to make it 3-1.
NU tacked on an insurance run in the eighth, as Edlefsen's RBI double to the wall in left center scored Jeff Christy, who singled and stole second to put himself in scoring position.
|Game 1 Boxscore|
|Game 2 Boxscore|