Wildcats beat Shockers, 10-4, to end losing skid

By The Mercury

WICHITA — Behind 15 hits, the Kansas State baseball team snapped its season-high six-game losing streak with a 10-4 win over Wichita State on Tuesday at Eck Stadium.

The win for K-State (24-25, 4-14 Big 12) gave the Wildcats the season series sweep over the Shockers (25-24, 9-6 MVC).

K-State has now won five straight against WSU, with back-to-back season sweeps in the last two years.

The top four hitters in the K-State lineup — Ross Kivett, RJ Santigate, Shane Conlon and Tyler Stover — combined for eight of K-State’s 15 hits and drove in five runs.

Kivett and Santigate tied for the team-lead with three hits each. The two also drove in a run. Conlon, meanwhile, had two hits and two RBIs and Stover had an RBI to go with his two hits and a walk.

K-State put up multiple runs in three different innings, including four in the eighth, and went 6 for 8 with runners in scoring position.

“Those are things we have not been doing,” K-State head coach Brad Hill said. “It was good to see us get five, six, seven hitters up in an inning. We got some big RBIs that we have been lacking. It was one of those things that it all came together tonight, and hopefully we can carry it over into the next two weekends.”

Jake Fromson, making his first-career start, picked up the win for K-State after he held the Shockers to one run in three innings. The freshman spot starter struck out three and walked two.

Fromson faced trouble in the first when he loaded the bases with a leadoff single and back-to-back walks. However, the right-hander surrendered a sacrifice fly to Chase Simpson to bring in the only run of the frame, but on the play, right fielder Mitch Meyer and Lance Miles combined for a relay to throw out Garrett Bayliff at third base for a double play. Fromson induced a fly out by the next batter, Tyler Baker, to end the threat.

Fromson went on to retire eight in a row, beginning with the two fly outs in the first, and ended his outing allowing one hit.

“Fromson worked himself out of the jam in the first with the help of a huge double-play ball on the relay — that was big,” Hill said. “He really competed after that. I thought all the young guys did a good job on the mound.”

K-State used five pitchers, three of which were freshmen. Jordan Floyd allowed two runs in two innings, while Ethan Landon pitched a perfect ninth. Sophomore Jordan Witcig did not allow a run in his two innings.

K-State grabbed a 2-1 lead in the fourth, with Kivett scoring the first run after he led off with an infield single and scored on a throwing error by Wichita State center fielder Daniel Kihle after Kihle fielded Conlon’s single and attempted to put out Kivett at third. The throw bounced into the K-State dugout, allowing Kivett to score and Conlon to advance to third. Stover later drove in Conlon for the go-ahead run with a single.

K-State picked up three key runs in the fifth when Santigate’s ground-rule double plated Blair DeBord, and Conlon’s two-run single, which plated Kivett and Santigate, made it 5-1.

The runs proved important as Wichita State quickly answered with two runs in the bottom half of the fifth. Kihle and Garrett Bayliff turned in RBI singles, helping the Shockers total four hits in the frame, but an inning-ending double play turned by Austin Fisher and Conlon on a groundball hit by Casey Gillaspie ended the WSU rally.

The Wildcats turned their second double play on a fly out in the sixth. Baker hit a one-out single off Witcig, but Kivett made a running catch in deep left-center on a fly hit by Dayne Parker and quickly threw to first to double up Baker, who had rounded second heading toward third prior to the catch.

K-State needed three pitches to tack on a run in the seventh, starting with pinch-hitter Carter Yagi lacing a double into the right corner on the second pitch he saw. Kivett followed with a single through the left side on the first pitch he saw to drive in Yagi and give K-State a 6-3 lead.

Yagi came through with a two-run single in the eighth, which followed up DeBord’s two-run single with the bases loaded. Both Yagi and DeBord finished the game with two hits.

The four-run eighth for K-State was answered by Gillaspie’s solo home run off Jared Moore in the bottom half of the inning. Gillaspie’s homer — his 13th of the year — was the only extra-base hit among Wichita State’s eight total hits in the game.

K-State heads home for a key Big 12 series against No. 7 Oklahoma State. Game 1 of the three-game series at Tointon Family Stadium is for Friday at 6:30 p.m.

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