The Kansas State baseball team kept the momentum from early in the weekend going and capped off the series against Nebraska-Omaha with a 10-2 victory Sunday afternoon at Tointon Family Stadium.
It was the first time the Wildcats notched a three-game series sweep since K-State swept Sacred Heart the first weekend of April.
Freshman left-hander Robert Youngdahl got the win on the mound for K-State, while sophomore center fielder Jared King led the way offensively, going 3-for-4 with four RBIs.
“We saw a lot more positives this week,” K-State head coach Brad Hill said. “It feels good to get the wins. It makes it a lot lighter coming to the ballpark. You can see guys a lot lighter in their step.
“The body language and posture was a lot better, so it was a good three days for us.”
The Wildcats (22-27) opened the bottom of the first with an RBI-double by senior first baseman Wade Hinkle to put K-State on the scoreboard first. The Cats added two more runs in the third to take a 3-0 lead.
Nebraska-Omaha (12-35) got a run in the top of the fourth, but the Wildcats stayed aggressive and scored again in the fifth.
A two-run double by King in the sixth extended K-State’s lead to 7-1 and although the Mavericks managed a run in the top of the eighth, the Wildcats posted another multiple-run inning with King, Hinkle and RJ Santigate each notching RBIs to put the game more out of reach for Nebraska-Omaha.
King, who had struggled in April, has been able to rebound this weekend, and much to the appreciation of Hill.
“I thought Jared was really mature this weekend,” Hill said. “He didn’t try to pull the ball a lot. He just took his hits and RBIs.
“That’s how you build your resume with your stats. Guys get caught up with trying to put up power numbers, but it’s all about getting on base and driving runs in. I thought he was very mature. He just took his hits into left field and center field. He had a good approach and a big weekend because of that.”
Youngdahl, who started the game for K-State, went four innings and gave up just one run on six hits with one walk and two strikeouts.
Nate Williams — another K-State freshman — relieved Youngdahl and pitched three innings, giving up no runs on two hits, with one strikeout and no walks. Senior Matt Applegate closed the game in the eighth and ninth innings.
“He was kind of bend, don’t break,” Hill said about Youngdahl’s performance. “He gave up a lot of hits in a few innings, but he continued to make pitches… I thought he pitched through adversity pretty well, but he needs to continue to be aggressive.”
Along with King, two other K-State batters recorded multiple hits. Second baseman Ross Kivett was 2-for-3 with three runs scored, while Hinkle was also 2-for-3 with three RBIs.
Nebraska-Omaha’s Cole Volkers suffered the loss in the contest. Volkers gave up four runs on five hits, with one strikeout and three walks in five innings of work.
K-State will have the week off for finals before returning to Tointon Family Stadium this weekend with a key match-up with rival Kansas, beginning Friday.
Nebraska-Omaha 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 — 2 9 1
Kansas State 1 0 2 0 1 3 0 3 x — 10 10 2
WP — Youngdahl (2-1). LP — Volkers (1-2).
2B — K-State 2 (King, Hinkle).