The Kansas State baseball team did something Wednesday afternoon that head coach Brad Hill felt hadn’t been done enough this season.
With a tied game and the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth, sophomore second baseman Ross Kivett doubled to right center. The hit plated two runs and K-State eventually beat Northern Colorado 7-5 to take the two-game series in Tointon Family Stadium.
It has been timely hits like Kivett’s that have been missing in K-State’s Big 12 conference games, and Hill was happy to see his players come through in crunch time.
“We won, that’s a positive, and we competed fairly good,” Hill said. “And we had a big double with the bases loaded… that was really big. That hasn’t happened in a while. So, there were a lot of positives today.”
Freshman right-hander Johnny Fasola picked up his first win of the season and junior transfer Jon Davis was the top bat for the Wildcats with a 3-for-4 outing that included an RBI. Freshman Austin Fisher was the second leading batter and was 2-for-3. Sophomore center fielder Jared King led the team in RBIs with three.
Caleb Wallingford, a left-hander, got his first career start and went 2 2/3 innings before being relieved by Fasola.
Wallingford gave up three runs on four hits, walked four and struck out four. Fasola also pitched 2 2/3 innings and allowed two runs on three hits with one walk and two strikeouts.
Robert Youngdahl followed and pitched 1 2/3, while Matt Wivinis threw the eighth and Nate Williams closed the game in the ninth and picked up his fifth save of the year.
All of the Wildcats’ pitchers were freshmen.
Meanwhile, senior Casey Coy began the game for Northern Colorado and pitched 3 1/3 innings, giving up six runs — five earned –—on six hits with two walks and no strikeouts.
Junior Dan Talley finished the fourth for the Bears and Kevin Willman threw the rest of the way.
Northern Colorado began the game with a run in the first, courtesy of a single by freshman left fielder Jensen Park. But K-State answered in the bottom of the frame with three runs of its own.
The Bears tied the game at 3-3 in the top of the second, but a two-run double by Kivett in the bottom of the fourth gave the Wildcats the lead.
Northern Colorado narrowed the gap in the top of the sixth with two runs, but that was as close as the Bears would get.
Hill said K-State’s leading batters, Davis and Fisher — who played third base for the first time Wednesday — were instinctual at the plate.
“They were just being aggressive and swinging the bats,” he said. “Not a lot of thought process with those two guys. I think you can see the guys that have thought process are thinking too much and their swings aren’t real good right now.
“They guys that aren’t thinking… there’s something to be said with just being happy to be out there playing. When aren’t really putting a lot of pressure on yourself, good things will happen.”
K-STATE 7, N. COLO 5
N. Colorado 1 0 2 0 0 2 0 0 0 — 5 11 2
K-State 3 0 0 4 0 0 0 0 x — 7 11 0
WP —Fasola (1-1). LP — Coy (0-3). Save — Williams (5).
2B — Northern Colorado 2 (Anderson, Coy). K-State 3 (Witt, Kivett, Santigate).