Cats cruise to weekend sweep

By The Mercury

Kansas State used a four-run third inning to turn a two-run deficit into a two-run advantage as the Wildcats picked up a 6-3 victory in seven innings over Bethune-Cookman on Saturday afternoon at a snowy Tointon Family Stadium.

With the win, K-State improved to 16-8, while Bethune-Cookman dropped to 12-14.

The Wildcats’ four-run third inning was aided by three BCU errors. An infield single, a fielding error and a walk loaded the bases with one out before RJ Santigate hit a ground ball toward the right side of the infield.

Santigate beat out a throw from first baseman Anthony Stokes to pitcher Scott Garner, but the ball sailed toward the first-base dugout as two K-State runs scored.

Backing up the wild throw, Bethune-Cookman catcher Chris Biocic attempted to throw out Santigate at second, but his errant throw wound up in center field as another run scored and Santigate ended up at third.

Two batters later, Santigate scored on a balk to give the Cats a 4-2 lead, one they would not relinquish.

The teams traded runs in the fourth inning and K-State scored one more in the sixth to take a three-run lead. With snow continuing to fall in between the sixth and seventh innings, the umpires and head coaches elected to end the game after the seventh. Matt Wivinis promptly sat down Bethune-Cookman in order in the seventh inning to finish a string of nine straight retired batters.

“That’s something you don’t want to do every day, I can promise you,” K-State coach Brad Hill said about playing in the snow. “We had to try to get this game in because they came a long way and the weather isn’t going to get any better. Our window was today. I give credit to both teams because I thought they (Bethune-Cookman) were very competitive today. They were a different club today than they were yesterday.

“We got lucky. We put the ball in play with the bases loaded and they made an error. We were able to capitalize on it.”

Wivinis was credited with his second complete game of the season as he allowed three runs on six hits with no walks and five strikeouts. The right-hander has now struck out five batters in three straight games and has worked at least six innings and given up three or less earned runs on three occasions, including his last two starts.

“They exposed Wivinis in the first inning,” Hill said. “He got some balls elevated and they hit them hard. He settled down and did what he had to do. We just have to find something to do for him in the first inning.”

Eight of the K-State starters recorded one hit over six innings as the plate. Ross Kivett drove in a run on a sixth-inning single as he finished the series 7 for 13 with a double and four RBIs.

Tanner Witt added a run in the fourth inning on his sixth sacrifice fly of the year, a mark that ties him for seventh in a single season in K-State history. He also registered a double and four RBIs in the three-game set. Witt and Jared King each worked a pair of walks and scored a run Saturday.

Garner (2-3) took the loss for Bethune-Cookman by allowing six runs — only three of which were earned — on eight hits with four walks and four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. BCU was led at the plate by designated hitter Josh Johnson, who went 2 for 4 with an RBI.

K-State concludes its 19-game homestand Tuesday with a 6:30 p.m., contest against Nebraska at Tointon Family Stadium. Tuesday’s contest will be shown to a national audience on Fox College Sports.

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