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K-State’s offense prevails in 15-7 victory

By The Mercury

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — The Kansas State baseball team exploded for 15 runs on 21 hits, including eight runs in a big third inning, and K-State starter Joe Flattery held San Diego State scoreless for the first five innings, as the Wildcats earned a 15-7 victory Saturday afternoon at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

With the win, K-State evened its record at 3-3 and will look to finish off its seven-game season-opening road trip with a winning mark today. The Aztecs fell to 2-5 with the loss.

K-State’s 15 runs in the contest were the most by the Wildcats since a season-high 16 against Northern Colorado last season, while their 21 hits were the most in nearly two years when K-State also had 21 hits against Western Michigan on March 2, 2010.

Additionally, the Wildcats pounded out seven doubles in the game, the most in nearly three years.

K-State continued its great play against the Aztecs on Saturday as, combined with Thursday’s 7-2 victory over SDSU, the Wildcats tallied 21 runs on 31 hits with nine doubles.

The Cats, who held a 1-0 lead in the third, saw their first four batters reach base in the inning, including consecutive RBI base hits by Wade Hinkle and Blair DeBord. Following a flyout and a strikeout, K-State was aggressive with two outs, as Dan Klein singled to score a run and Tanner Witt walked. Ross Kivett was next and singled home two more runs to make the score 6-0 and knock SDSU’s TJ Kendzora (0-1) from the game.

Mitch Bluman came out of the bullpen, and senior Jake Brown greeted him with a two-run double down the left-field line, while Jared King attacked the same line to double home Brown and give K-State a 9-0 lead. The Cats tallied six two-out RBIs in the inning and totaled nine for the contest.

“You couldn’t draw it up any better than that,” K-State coach Brad Hill said. “We hit a ton a singles. The selfishness wasn’t there today. We just did what we had to do to score runs. It was a good offensive approach. I hope the kids saw that and can learn from it. You can have a big offensive day when no one tries to do too much. No one tried to hit home runs. We just had a lot of singles. Then, a few singles turn into a few doubles. That’s the way we want to play offense.”

King led all hitters with a career-high tying four hits and one RBI. Brown, DeBord and Klein also tied their career highs with three hits, while six Wildcats — Kivett, Brown, Hinkle, DeBord, Klein and Witt — recorded two RBIs apiece.

Flattery (1-1) earned the win, as he bounced back from his first start of the season. The left-hander shut out the Aztecs through the first five innings until allowing five runs (three earned) in the sixth. The Fort Dodge, Iowa, native lasted 5 1/3 innings.

“His biggest inning was the zero in the third,” Hill said of Flattery. “That kept all the momentum on our side and made it a lot easier for him to pitch. We would have liked to get him through six complete, but it didn’t quite happen.

“It was a real good go for him and hopefully a confidence booster. He’s got really good stuff. I hope he keeps growing because he has a good chance of being a good one for us.”

SDSU scored five runs in the sixth, three of which came on RBI singles, but the Aztecs could only score single runs in the seventh and eighth innings and never really threatened the large K-State lead.

K-State’s run in the first inning came on a Witt RBI single, and the junior also drove in the second of two Wildcat runs in the fourth on the back end of the consecutive RBI doubles.

Two more Wildcat runs came across in the fifth inning on a Hinkle RBI single and a DeBord sacrifice fly, while freshman Austin Fisher registered his first K-State RBI on a single in the ninth.

K-State concludes play at the San Diego Tournament with a 1 p.m. game today against No. 19 Oregon State at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

San Diego State edges Wildcats late

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — The Kansas State baseball team trailed by just two runs to San Diego in the seventh inning, but the Toreros plated 12 over the seventh and eighth en route to a 15-1 win Friday afternoon at Cunningham Stadium. With the win, USD moved to 2-2 on the season, while the Wildcats fell to 2-3.

K-State starting pitcher Matt Applegate (0-1) gave up a two-out RBI single in the first and a two-out, two-run homer to Corey LeVier in the third to make the score 3-0. However, from that point on, the senior right-hander kept K-State in the game as he sat down 11-straight USD batters until a leadoff single in the seventh.

Following a walk two batters later, Applegate was pulled in favor of Shane Conlon, who walked another batter before giving up a sacrifice fly. K-State then went to junior Jake Doller to face Kris Bryant, and the USD slugger hit a three-run homer to deep center field to make the score 7-1, and the floodgates opened for the Toreros from there.

Applegate was charged with five runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings with two walks and seven strikeouts. His seven strikeouts were the third-most in his career after recording 13 against Texas Tech and 12 against New Orleans last season.

“He wasn’t really sharp at all,” Hill said of Applegate. “He was throwing pitches all over the place, but he competed. He didn’t have good command, and that caught up to him in the third with the home run. We felt comfortable with the score being 3-1 in the seventh with him really kind of struggling with command.”

Following the five-run seventh, San Diego scored seven more in the eighth, four off Doller and three off freshman Caleb Wallingford. The Toreros totaled seven of their 16 hits in the inning, including six in their first seven plate appearances to open up the frame.

The No. 3, 4 and 5 hitters in the San Diego lineup – Bryant, LeVier and Bryan Haar – combined to tally nine hits and nine RBI in the contest. Bryant had three hits and four RBI, while Harr collected four hits and drove in three runs.

The Wildcats didn’t do themselves any favors offensively, coming up with only six hits in the contest. K-State put four runners on base in the first two innings against San Diego starter Calvin Drummond (2-0), but had nothing to show for it.

K-State’s best chance to get to Drummond came in the fourth inning with the score 3-0 as K-State loaded the bases with no outs. RJ Santigate came to the plate and grounded into a double play to score a run, but a strikeout quickly ended the inning for Drummond, and the Wildcats could only produce four base runners over the final four innings.

“We’re still trying to learn,” Hill said. “We have new guys in new situations, and I’m trying to learn what some guys can and can’t do. In the fourth, we took the good pitch to begin the at-bat, but we then hit his pitch that resulted in a double play. We’ll get better from it. It’s still early.”

Drummond lasted seven innings, allowing the one run on six hits with three walks and eight strikeouts. James Pazos finished up the ballgame for the Toreros, recording five strikeouts in two innings of work.

K-State was led offensively by Santigate and Ross Kivett with two hits apiece. Wade Hinkle walked twice and Jared King recorded a first-inning triple for his only hit of the afternoon.

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