K-State picks up 20th win of the season

By Brady Bauman

The Kansas State baseball team notched its 20th win of the season Wednesday night with a 3-2 defeat of Nebraska-Omaha at Tointon Family Stadium.

K-State junior reliever Jared Moore nabbed the win and junior Gerardo Esquivel earned the save.

The win didn’t come easy for the Wildcats, though.

Omaha (6-15) took advantage of K-State’s lone error of the game in the top of the ninth and gave up a run after an errant throw to first. The Mavericks quickly loaded the bases and tested Esquivel’s nerves, but a flyout ended any hopes of a comeback after a visit to mound seemed to calm the Chicago native.

“We got the win — that’s the bottom line,” K-State head coach Brad Hill said. “We found a way to score one more run than them. It wasn’t easy tonight, but the guys found a way to get it done.”

Senior righthander Jake Doller started the game for the Wildcats (20-10) and pitched 3 1/3 innings. He gave up one run on two hits with three walks and a strikeout. Moore tossed 4 2/3 innings, giving up no runs, with no walks, just two hits and three Ks.

Esquivel allowed four hits and one run in the ninth inning.

“Jared Moore was big-time for us tonight,” Hill said. “He gave us a great outing. The whole key was that he got ahead in the count, and he was aggressive in the zone. He was able to expand the zone a little bit and got them to move the bats on pitches they didn’t want to move the bats on. That makes a big difference.”

Senior left fielder Tanner Witt led the Wildcats with a 2-for-3 evening, driving in one run with two runs scored and a double.

Witt’s heads-up play in the bottom of the sixth proved to pave the way for the eventual game-winning run when he connected on a single and then took second after the Omaha left fielder bobbled the play.

“Tanner, again… how big was that hustle?” Hill said about the play. “He took advantage of that. Guys found a way to get it done (tonight).”

Freshman center fielder Clayton Dalrymple, who played in place of an injured Jared King, took advantage of his opportunity and also went 2 for 3. Blair DeBord, RJ Santigate, and Shane Conlon also posted hits for K-State.

The Wildcats also left just four runners stranded for the contest, while Omaha left 10 on base.

K-State will return to Big 12 play this weekend with a home series against Texas Tech. Hill said the Red Raiders will be a challenge.

“It’s going to be a good series,” he said. “Tech is a much improved team and they are pitching really well. Their guys are really set into their roles and it will be another Big 12 weekend where you have to grind it out and be tough.”

Friday’s game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., while Saturday’s contest will begin at 2 p.m.

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