Kansas State infielder Ross Kivett picked a good night to show the nation that he can hit a home run or two in the Wildcats’ 20-11 beat-down of Wichita State Friday night in the opening round of the NCAA regional held at Tointon Family Stadium.
The junior, who had only one homer to his name for his entire K-State career, drilled two of them in back-to-back at-bats in the sixth and seventh innings.
For the game, the Broadview Heights, Ohio, native and Big 12 Player of the Year was 4 for 5 with four RBIs, a walk and four runs scored - along with the two homers.
“I doubled my career,” Kivettt said with a touch of sarcasm. “I got beat in early and struck out. I wanted to protect that early in the count and get a good swing off. I happened to do so.”
Kivett said a fielding miscue early in the opening inning may have helped him refocus. This was also at a point when the Shockers began the contest strong and put up two quick runs on K-State.
Still, Kivett credited the rest of his teammates for K-State’s strong response.
“I butchered a double play ball early. Down 0-2 you don’t want to do too much,” he said. “It was not just my hit, it was everyone’s. I just wanted to get on base and spark the offense after we gave up two in the first.”
Kivett has been one of the many reasons K-State is 42-17 and owns a Big 12 championship trophy. For the season, Kivett has hit .365, which leads the team and ranks fourth in conference play. Overall, K-State is second in team batting average in the country.
Senior outfielder Tanner Witt said having players like Kivett on the team eases nerves, despite facing an early 2-0 deficit.
“It helps when we know that we are going to score,” he said. “We are going to get hits and score. Levi (MaVorhis) has been good for us all year and happened to give up two runs. He knows that we are going to have his back, get some hits and runs.
Ross starts it off and then me and Shane (Conlon). Everyone in the lineup keeps calm and just knows that we are going to get runs.”