Cat nap does the trick for Perry against Wildcats

April 3, 2019

MANHATTAN, Kan. — Kyle Perry took an hour-long nap on the bus ride from Lincoln, then tossed a career-high seven scoreless innings to propel the Nebraska baseball team past former Big 12 foe Kansas State 7-0 on Tuesday night at Tointon Stadium.

The true freshman from Millard South went to his fastball early and got quick outs as Nebraska (14-9) built an early lead. He threw 90 pitches.

“Lots of fastball placement,” Perry said. “That is everything. I just wanted to fill it up and let my defense do all the work.”

Nebraska starters have been dominant over the Huskers’ past 10 games.

After Tuesday’s win, the NU starters have a combined earned-run average of 1.31 over their past 62 innings pitched.

Perry kept the unbeaten streak for the Husker starters going, as well, as he moved the rotation to 6-0 over the past 10 games dating to March 19 against Air Force.

Before Perry settled into his career-best outing, Nebraska jumped on Wildcat starter Joey Martin.

Martin struggled to find the strike zone in the first inning as he walked the bases loaded.

Jaxon Hallmark came through for the Huskers in an unusual way.

He drove a 1-1 pitch to right field and past the glove of a diving Zach Kokoska.

Hallmark circled the bases and cleared them as well on an inside-the-park grand slam.

“You’re just looking for a pitch over the plate and he (Hallmark) had a great approach going to the other side of the field,” NU coach Darin Erstad said. “That was a huge play. It’s baseball, crazy things happen. You don’t see that every day and he can really run.”

Hallmark did damage with his glove as well.

He robbed Kansas State’s Jordan Maxson of extra bases to lead off the bottom of the third with a running catch into the wall in right center, then caught a Thomas Hughes fly ball later in the inning and fired the ball to first base to double off Caleb Littlejim and get Perry out of the third inning.

“He (Hallmark) showed his athleticism in the field, too,” Erstad said. “He can bounce around from the infield to the outfield for us. Athletes just make plays, and he made a lot of plays for us today.”

The Huskers had six hits in the game. They did most of their damage without having to take the bat off their shoulders.

Kansas State (12-17) pitchers walked eight NU batters, including six in the first three innings.

Despite the hot start to the game, Nebraska’s bats cooled. That’s what bothered Erstad.

“It’s still a work in progress,” he said. “I thought our at-bats in the middle of the game were pretty brutal. We’re still striking out looking too much, especially on fastballs away, we’re turning down way too many of those.”

NU will take on Purdue in a three-game weekend series at Haymarket Park starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday.