McFadden pitches Cats past Iowa

By The Mercury

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Blake McFadden tossed six innings with a career-best five strikeouts, while Jared King recorded a season-high four hits, as Kansas State defeated Iowa, 5-3, in the rubber match of a three-game series Sunday afternoon at Duane Banks Field.

With the win, the Wildcats improved to 26-11 on the season and continued their recent successful stretch of baseball by winning 16 of their last 20 games. The Hawkeyes fell to 12-18 with the loss.

McFadden, who made his sixth start of the year and second consecutive weekend start, also set a career high in innings pitched, while walking just one batter. The freshman right-hander surrendered three runs and allowed just four hits.

“I thought Blake was outstanding today,” K-State head coach Brad Hill said. “He really attacked the zone with good pitches all the way around. He’s getting three pitches in the game too. He continues to make progress each week. His slider is getting better, and he got the changeup in the game today. When he starts becoming a three-pitch pitcher, that’s going to make him even more effective.”

Outside of a two-out RBI single by Eric Toole in the third inning, McFadden cruised his first two times through the Iowa order as he faced just three over the minimum in six innings.

The Savannah, Mo., product began the seventh inning on the mound with a 5-1 lead, but surrendered a leadoff infield single and a double that put runners in scoring position with no outs.

K-State elected to bring in another freshman right-hander in Jake Matthys, who produced three ground ball outs as the Wildcats conceded a pair of runs to avoid a big inning.

Matthys worked around a one-out hit-by-pitch in the eighth before Tanner Witt pitched a scoreless ninth with a strikeout for his fifth save of the year.

“Jake attacked the zone and got strikes,” Hill said. “It was disappointing offensively today, but give them (Iowa) credit. We just needed one or two more runs. We couldn’t get that big hit to put the game away.”

King went 4 for 5 and drove in two runs on his fifth-inning home run that gave K-State their four-run advantage. The junior also set a new career high with three stolen bases, finishing the weekend perfect in five attempts.

A product of Dublin, Ohio, King’s career-high-tying four-hit performance capped a 7-for-12, four-RBI weekend.

Witt recorded his 16th multi-hit game of the year by going 2 for 5, including a two-out RBI triple in the second inning. It was K-State’s third triple of the series and 20th of the year.

Jon Davis went 2 for 4, while Clayton Dalrymple was 2 for 2 with an RBI single in the fourth inning and his first-career stolen base.

Eight of the nine Wildcats starters recorded a hit in the contest as K-State finished the game with 14.

K-State improved its team batting average by two points in the series — a mark that now stands at .333 — by producing 38 hits over the three games.

Iowa starting pitcher Sasha Kuebel (1-7) took the loss by allowing five runs on 11 hits in five innings.

Hawkeye relief pitcher Ricky Sandquist kept Iowa in the game as the tossed four shutout innings with a walk and three strikeouts.

K-State continues its eight-game road trip at Wichita State Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. from Eck Stadium. The game will be shown on Cox Kansas 22.

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