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K-State baseball falls at The Citadel

By The Mercury

Staff reports

CHARLESTON, S.C. — The Kansas State baseball team dug itself an early seven-run hole against The Citadel and battled back to have the tying run in scoring position in the top of the ninth.

But a strikeout ended the game as the Bulldogs held off the Wildcats, 10-8, Saturday afternoon in The Citadel Memorial Challenge at Riley Park.

With the loss, K-State fell to 1-1 on the young season, while The Citadel improved to 2-0.

Following a Citadel solo homer in the first inning, K-State starting pitcher Joe Flattery spotted the Bulldogs six runs in the third, thanks in part to two errors early in the frame.

Those defensive miscues put pressure on Flattery, who surrendered a pair of big hits in the form of a two-run single by catcher Joe Jackson and a three-run homer off the bat of first baseman Bo Thompson to give The Citadel a 7-1 advantage.

The Bulldogs also scored single runs in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings, but K-State fought back with two in the fifth and three in the sixth to get within four at 10-6 entering the ninth inning.

RJ Santigate, who went 4-for-5 in the contest, recorded a two-run double down the left-field line off Bulldog reliever Skylar Hunter to pull the Wildcats to within two.

With a walk and a double-steal putting runners in scoring position with two outs, Hunter worked to a 1-2 count against Tanner Witt before throwing an elevated fastball that the Wildcat left fielder could not catch up to, ending the game.

Citadel starting pitcher James Reeves was the benefit of the six-run inning as he earned the win, allowing three runs on six hits with no walks and four strikeouts in five innings of work. Tyler Griffin, who hit the solo homer in the first, ended the day with three hits, along with Hughston Armstrong.

A pair of Wildcat freshmen pitchers shined in their collegiate debuts as left-hander Landon Busch worked 1 1/3 scoreless innings with a pair of strikeouts, while Blake McFadden tossed a scoreless eighth inning.

The Wildcats were led offensively by Santigate’s four-hit day, while the junior also drove in a pair of runs. A day after the top four hitters in K-State’s lineup tallied multi-hit games against High Point, three of the top four hitters in Shane Conlon, Jared King and Ross Kivett each recorded two hits Saturday.

Conlon doubled and tripled in the contest, while King led the Wildcats with three RBI.

K-State scored its two runs in the fifth inning off Reeves on Conlon’s triple and a sacrifice fly by King. The Wildcats came back with three more runs off Bulldog reliever Brett Tompkins in the sixth on an error and RBI singles by Joe Goodwin and King.

The Wildcats conclude play in The Citadel Memorial Challenge with a 9 a.m. contest today against George Mason. K-State is expected to start sophomore right-hander Matt Wivinis, while the Patriots will counter with junior left-hander Ryan Kalish.

Cats open season with 5-1 win

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Sophomore right-hander Nate Williams tossed six strong innings and junior Jared King jump-started the K-State offense with a RBI triple in the seventh inning as the Wildcats won their season opener over High Point, 5-1, Friday afternoon in The Citadel Memorial Challenge at Riley Park.

It was the fifth straight season-opening win by K-State dating back to 2009, a feat that hadn’t been accomplished by the Wildcats since the 1909-13 seasons.

Williams, a relief pitcher throughout his freshman campaign, was solid in his first-career start as he allowed just one run and a walk to go along with a career-best six strikeouts.

With the Wildcats unable to produce any clutch hits over the first six frames, Williams kept K-State in the contest by shutting down the Panther offense after allowing a first-inning run.

The Valley Center product forced High Point to leave the bases loaded in the second inning and strand two more in the fourth before retiring the final seven batters he faced.

King, who went 2-for-5, got the Wildcats on the board in the seventh inning after K-State had stranded nine runners over the first six frames. Tanner Witt recorded a leadoff single to left field and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. King then hammered a 2-1 pitch into the right-center field gap, a line-drive shot that one-hopped the wall for a triple, to bring home Witt and tie the game at 1-1.

With the Panther infield drawn in, Ross Kivett hit a sharp ground ball through the left side of the infield to give K-State a 2-1 lead.

That was all the momentum the Wildcats needed as relievers Jared Moore, Gerardo Esquivel and Witt shut down High Point over the final three innings, while K-State scored three insurance runs in the ninth.

The trio of pitchers allowed just two hits and, coupled with Williams’ outstanding finish to his afternoon, combined to retire 16 of the final 18 High Point batters.

The top four hitters in K-State’s lineup each recorded multi-hit games, including a team-best 3-for-4 effort by Witt, who also scored a pair of runs. Austin Fisher hit his first-career home run just inside the right-field foul pole to lead off the ninth inning, while Jon Davis drove in the final runs of the day with a two-RBI single.

Along with the two-hit games by Witt, Shane Conlon, King and Kivett, the Wildcats also received two hits apiece from Mitch Meyer and RJ Santigate as K-State out-hit High Point, 15-7.

High Point starting pitcher Jacob Newberry worked around eight hits by pitching 5 2/3 scoreless innings with a walk and five strikeouts. Malcolm Clapsaddle relieved Newberry and gave up four runs on five hits in 2 1/3 innings of work to take the loss.

Panther shortstop Willie Medina went 4-for-5 and scored the game’s first run in the first inning on a two-out RBI single by Spencer Angelis.

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