SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — The 18th-ranked Kansas State baseball team was finished off by Cal Poly in sweeping fashion on Sunday after the Wildcats dropped the series finale, 10-1, to the Mustangs at Baggett Stadium.
The Wildcats’ offense struggled to drive in runs once again as K-State (0-3) left nine runners on base and registered four hits. K-State had a combined 11 hits and three runs in the three-game series.
“Offensively, we’ve got to create something,” K-State head coach Brad Hill said. “We had a couple chances today, where a big hit would break the ice a bit, but we can’t get the big hit.”
Sunday’s loss gave the Wildcats three straight losses for the first time since April of 2012. It was also the first time the Wildcats have been swept in a three-game series since April 27-29, 2012, against Oklahoma State.
The Wildcats, who are in the midst of a 10-day swing in California, have their first 0-3 start to a season since 2008.
“We just have a long way to go,” Hill said. “We’re not a very good team right now, and hopefully we will not be there by the end of the week.”
The Mustangs (3-0), who had 14 hits in the game, jumped out early off K-State starting pitcher Jordan Witcig.
K-State’s sophomore right-hander surrendered a pair of runs on four hits in the first inning before allowing two more runs — one earned — in the third.
Witcig allowed six hits and one walk, while striking out one in 2 2/3 innings. He took the loss, his first decision of his collegiate career.
The K-State offense showed some potential life in the sixth inning after nine straight batters were retired from the third to the fifth innings. Ross Kivett and Shane Conlon led off the sixth by each being hit with pitches before Austin Fisher loaded the bases with no outs on a walk issued by Cal Poly starter Casey Bloomquist.
Cal Poly freshman Nick Suniga entered the tough situation, though, and struck out the first batter he faced, Max Brown, and induced a groundout by the following hitter, Mitch Meyer. The groundout drove in a run to cut into Cal Poly’s lead at 4-1, but senior Blair DeBord ended the threat with a strikeout.
Cal Poly answered K-State’s one run in the top half of the sixth with another two runs on RBI singles by Brian Mundell and Jimmy Allen off K-State hurler Colton Kalmus. The pair of Mustangs combined for five of Cal Poly’s nine RBIs on Sunday.
After committing an error in each of the first two games, the Wildcats had four errors in the finale, including two in a four-run seventh inning for Cal Poly.
Carter Yagi committed his first error of the season on a tough hop at second to allow the leadoff hitter, Mark Mathias, to reach base in the seventh. Two batters later, the shortstop Fisher, as part of a drawn-in infield, threw a one-hopper to the first baseman Conlon, who could not pick the short throw and put runners at first and third base.
Chris Hoo singled home Mathias to make it 7-1 before Nick Torres hit a three-run homer to left off Kalmus to cap the afternoon’s scoring. It was the first home run allowed by K-State this season.
In addition to Kalmus making his K-State debut, freshmen Braxton Wilks and Jon Roblez also saw their first action in a Wildcat uniform. The left-handed Wilks, who inherited a runner at second in relief of Witcig in the third, did not allow a run his 2 1/3 innings of work. Roblez tossed a scoreless eighth , allowing one hit.
“We still were able to see a couple positives today,” Hill said. “Braxton Wilks comes in and does well for his first time out. (Jon) Roblez goes out there and throws strikes that last inning.”
Two K-State hitters, Tyler Stover and Yagi, picked up their first hits as a Wildcat. Yagi had a leadoff single in the third while Stover dropped in a leadoff single to left field as pinch hitter in the eighth.
Although he had two errors, Fisher reached base safely twice for the third game in a row. The junior went 1 for 2 with a walk and had a .545 on-base percentage in the series.
The Wildcats continue the road trip in the state of California on Tuesday at San Francisco — first pitch set for 4 p.m.