Wade Hinkle’s towering two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh broke a 7-7 tie as the Kansas State baseball team defeated Sacred Heart 9-7 on Thursday night at Tointon Family Stadium.
With the win, the Wildcats improved to 15-14 overall and snapped a two-game skid. The Pioneers fell to 10-17 with the loss.
The 16 combined runs came in only two innings, as Sacred Heart scored four in the top of the first before K-State answered with seven in the bottom half.
Both teams then went scoreless for five frames until three Pioneer runs came across in the top of the seventh to tie the game.
K-State began the seventh with a Tanner Witt walk, but he was thrown out trying to steal second. After Jared King flew out to center field, Blair DeBord hammered a 2-2 pitch off the right-field wall for a two-out double.
Hinkle, who had yet to record an official at-bat due to a pair of walks and a hit-by-pitch, approached. The Albuquerque product hammered the third pitch he saw over the right-center field wall for his team-leading 15th and 16th two-out RBI of the year.
Johnny Fasola worked a scoreless eighth inning before Nate Williams slammed the door on Sacred Heart in the ninth for his fourth save of the season.
“After the top of the first, you hope you can come back and score a couple to put yourself back into it,” K-State head coach Brad Hill said. “It was great focus. There was a sense of urgency. We got good pitches to hit and we hit them flat instead of up in the air, but then it went away.”
Witt led the Wildcats with three hits, including a RBI single in the first inning. In the process, the outfielder extended his career-long streak of consecutive games reaching base to 22, while he collected his third three-hit game of the year.
Catcher Dan Klein went 2-for-4 with his first career grand slam in the first inning, a shot down the left-field line that stayed fair by a matter of feet. It was K-State’s third grand slam of the season, which is tied with the 2006 and 2010 squads for the most in Hill’s nine seasons at K-State.
Jon Davis preceded Klein’s grand slam with a RBI single as part of a 2-for-4 day. Over his last four starts, Davis is 8-for-15 (.533) after recording just one hit in his first 19 at-bats of the season.
Freshman left-hander Robert Youngdahl picked up the win, as he retired the final two batters of the Sacred Heart seventh inning. Sacred Heart starter Nick Leiningen (2-3) suffered the loss by allowing all nine Wildcat runs on 11 hits with five walks in seven innings of work.
The Pioneers were led offensively by Dave Boisture, who went 3-for-4 with a run scored. Keaton Flint, Hunter Phillips and Dan Perez each recorded two hits, while Phillips and John Murphy drove in a pair of runs.
Sacred Heart jumped out on top 4-0 in the first inning thanks to a pair of run-scoring singles by Murphy and Perez, while another run scored on a balk.
The Pioneers scored their three runs in the seventh on a Phillips two-run triple before Murphy hit a sacrifice fly to center field.
K-State and Sacred Heart continue their three-game series tonight at 6:30.