Nebraska baseball lands midweek win over Wichita State

Midweek games were a pebble in the cleat for Nebraska last season. The Huskers’ first such chance Tuesday night doubled as one of their more satisfying wins of the year.

Will Walsh spun a quality start and a reworked lineup provided yet another rally before NU held on to best Wichita State 8-6 at Eck Stadium in Wichita, Kansas. Cole Evans collected four hits in his debut batting third and Ben Columbus drove in three as the Huskers took a celebratory team photo afterward for a seventh time in their last eight tries.

The finale of the quick two-game series begins Wednesday at 6 p.m. before Nebraska (10-4) opens an eight-game homestand Friday.

Walsh’s night appeared destined to be brief early on. The left-hander — a weekend starter in his first three turns — plunked the first two batters he faced and gave up an up-the-middle RBI single to Dayvin Johnson shortly after. Relievers warmed up down the right-field line.

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But the redshirt junior settled in by inducing a flyout and groundout. Walsh then faced two batters over the minimum into the sixth inning by scattering two Shocker infield singles and a walk. His night dimmed just slightly from there as a single and Jordan Rogers home run to left cut the NU lead to 7-3. He responded with a ground-ball double play to end the inning as the first-base dugout erupted.

“I thought it was big on Walsh’s part to hold them to one there,” NU coach Will Bolt said of Walsh’s first inning. “It could have easily been a crooked number, but he navigated like a veteran and gave our offense a chance to work a little bit.”

Walsh’s line — six hits, three runs, one walk and two strikeouts across six innings and 86 pitches — represents just the fourth quality start from an NU hurler in 24 midweek games in the Bolt era.

While Nebraska fell behind for the sixth time in seven games, the offense made sure a fifth comeback win in that span was secure. The performance wasn’t perfect — Husker bats stranded 14 runners, struck out 14 times and went 3-for-17 (.176) with men in scoring position — but enough against seven Wichita State hurlers. NU hitters saw a season-high 184 pitches.

A four-run third did most of the damage against WSU freshman righty Brady Hamilton in his first college start. Tyler Stone crushed an offering just over the “390” sign in center for a go-ahead two-run homer, and Columbus later pushed a two-out two-run single to left.

Two Shocker errors fueled a three-spot in the Big Red fourth, including a would-be double-play ball thrown into left field. A Garrett Anglim sacrifice fly and a Columbus bases-loaded walk highlighted the damage.

Nebraska tacked on a run in the seventh on an Evans scoring single with two away.

Wichita State (9-6) touched up NU relievers Evan Borst and Jackson Brockett for three runs in the eighth on consecutive two-out RBI singles to draw within 8-6. With the tying runs aboard, closer Casey Daiss came on to coax a soft grounder to first base. He earned his third save after an uneventful ninth.

“He’s out there looking like it’s a Sunday in the park,” Bolt said of the righty. “He’s got a really slow heartbeat and he throws strikes. That’s the thing. It was good to see him navigate there at the end of that game with a couple left-handed hitters.”

The Huskers last year went 6-6 in midweek games that undercut any at-large NCAA Tournament hopes. From an RPI perspective, Tuesday’s road win ranks as well as any in 2023.

Nebraska played error free after committing a season-high five miscues Sunday.​

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