OMAHA, Neb. — Pitching in front of friends and family, Millard West High School product and Kansas State redshirt-freshman Nate Griep matched his career-high with five strikeouts in seven strong innings to help lead the Wildcats to an 8-2 victory over Creighton on Sunday at TD Ameritrade Park.
The Wildcats (17-10) dropped the first contest of the three-game set against the Bluejays (12-9-1) on Friday, but K-State scored eight runs and tallied double-digit hits for the second game in a row to back up Griep’s fourth career start and earn the series victory.
Dating back to last season, K-State has now won three of its last four games against Creighton.
“Winning series is what the season is all about,” K-State head coach Brad Hill said. “If you win a lot of series, you’re going to have plenty of success.
“We put ourselves in a hole on Friday night, but the guys did a great job of coming back with wins on Saturday and Sunday.”
Griep surrendered a two-run home run in the second inning, but the right-hander settled in, retiring seven straight Bluejays after the homer and scattering three hits over his final four innings of work. Griep struck out five and walked one to improve his record to 3-0 on the season.
“Nate gave us a great start,” Hill said. “He pounded the zone and did what he had to do on the mound to put us in position to win.”
RJ Santigate had three hits for the second straight game as the senior went 3 for 5 with an RBI and two runs scored. The three hits — all singles — matched Santigate’s season high.
K-State had 12 hits on Sunday, the third time in the last four games and 15th time this season the Wildcats have tallied double-digit hits in a game.
Ross Kivett and Mitch Meyer joined Santigate as the three Wildcats with multi-hit efforts.
Kivett went 2 for 4 with two RBIs — going 6 for 12 with four RBIs in the series.
Meyer snapped a 0-for-12 stretch by collecting two hits, including a one-out double in the second inning that scored in Santigate and gave K-State an early 1-0 lead.
K-State responded to Gerber’s second-inning home run by regaining the lead with three runs in the top of the third.
Meyer drew a walk and Blair DeBord was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second for Carter Yagi, who came through with an RBI double to the right-center field gap that tied the game 2-2.
Clayton Dalrymple made it 3-2 K-State with a bloop single to right that scored DeBord, and an error by Creighton shortstop Ryan Fitzgerald on a ground ball hit by Kivett allowed Yagi to cross home.
DeBord led off the sixth with a double into the left-field corner, and after he advanced to third on a sac bunt by Yagi, Kivett plated the senior catcher with a sacrifice fly that made it 5-2 K-State.
The Wildcats added three runs in the eighth with an RBI single by Santigate, an RBI groundout by Tanner DeVinny, and an RBI single by Meyer.
K-State’s Jordan Floyd and Jake Matthys each pitched scoreless innings out of the bullpen.
Creighton’s Taylor Elman took the loss after he allowing five runs on seven hits.
K-State makes a return trip back to the Omaha area on Tuesday for a midweek contest against Omaha at Werner Park.