MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — The Kansas State baseball team owned a slim lead over Elon throughout a majority of the contest Sunday, but a two-run Phoenix eighth inning turned out to be the difference as they topped the Wildcats, 4-3, in the Caravelle Resort Tournament at TicketReturn.com Field.
K-State dropped to 3-3 on the season, while Elon evened its record at 3-3 prior to an afternoon tilt against Coastal Carolina on Sunday.
K-State had leads of 2-0 after the top of the second and 3-1 after the top of the seventh, but Elon scored single runs in both those innings before its two-run eighth.
Gerardo Esquivel (0-1) began the eighth inning on the mound for the Wildcats and recorded two quick outs, but three straight singles, including a RBI single by Ryan Kinsella, tied the game at three and knocked Esquivel from of the game.
Jake Matthys came out of the Wildcat bullpen working with runners on first and second, and he got ahead in the count against Joey Tomko, but Tomko stroked a 1-2 pitch up the middle for the eventual game-winning run.
The loss spoiled an outstanding start by K-State right-hander Matt Wivinis, who allowed just one run on three hits in six innings with no walks and three strikeouts. The only run scored off the Downers Grove, Ill., product was in the fourth as a leadoff double by Casey Jones came around to score on a pair of flyball outs.
Wivinis, who faced the minimum in four of his six innings, tied his career high with 70 pitches a week after giving up six runs in four innings against George Mason.
Elon was paced offensively by Kinsella, who was 2 for 3 with three RBIs as he produced the sacrifice fly in the second before hitting a solo homer in the seventh inning off freshman left-hander Hayden Nixon.
A RBI groundout by RJ Santigate and a single by Damion Lovato plated a pair of runs in the second inning as the Wildcats recorded three of their eight hits in the frame.
However, outside of a Tanner Witt sacrifice fly in the seventh, the Wildcats did not advance a runner past second base the final four innings and were retired in order in the eighth and ninth.
Elon reliever Andrew McDonald (1-0) picked up the win after tossing 1 1/3 no-hit innings. He entered the game with two outs in the seventh and was the beneficiary of a caught stealing before inducing three straight groundouts in the eighth. Nate Young picked up his second save of the season of the year by striking out two of the three hitters he faced in the ninth.
Lovato and Blair DeBord recorded two hits for K-State. Shane Conlon and Ross Kivett each extended their hitting streaks to six games.
The Wildcats open their 31-game home schedule this weekend as the Wildcats host Oakland Friday through Sunday at Tointon Family Stadium.