Wildcats’ offense missing in 8-3 home loss to Gophers

By Brady Bauman

The Kansas State baseball team was solid for most of the game against Minnesota, but a couple big innings by the Golden Gopher offense changed that mid-way through.

The Wildcats fell to Minnesota 8-3 Tuesday night in Tointon Family Stadium.

K-State dropped to 12-8, while the Gophers improved to 13-8.

“We have to be able to finish innings when we’re pitching, both on the mound and defensively,” Wildcats head coach Brad Hill said. “We’re just not doing little things. We had the two-out error, but it’s not the two-out error, it’s the walk and hit-by-pitch to load the bases and you put yourself in a pressure situation.”

KSU starting pitcher Jake Doller was in a good place until the top of the sixth.

A throwing error by the third baseman allowed Minnesota to take a base and the next two were walked. Then, a base-clearing triple by the Golden Gophers’ Mark Tatera — who hit two of them in the contest — took away K-State’s 1-0 lead. Minnesota left the inning with a 4-1 advantage before they were retired by a fly-out.

The Wildcats failed to answer in the bottom of the frame and left a runner stranded.

In the top of the seventh, the Gophers continued their momentum and tallied four more runs — two of which were plated by a double courtesy of designated-hitter Ryan Abrahamson.

Overall, KSU left 10 men on base for the game.

“We don’t get good at-bats with men in scoring position right now,” Hill said. “We’re not getting off good swings and not getting the pitches we want to hit. We had the bases loaded and only got one. They helped us get the one run with a walk, and they had a triple with the bases loaded.”

Doller pitched 5 2/3 and gave up four runs — none earned — on five hits with a walk and six strikeouts. He was relieved by junior Jared Moore for 2/3 of an inning and fellow junior Gerardo Esquivel follwed him with 2/3 of an inning. Jordan Witcig, a freshman, tossed the final two innings.

Offensively, Jared King, Blair DeBord and pinch-hitter Damion Lovato posted doubles for K-State, but the Cats lacked the overall fire power to match the Gophers, who drove in eight runs even though KSU drew six more walks.

Minnesota starting pitcher Ty McDevitt threw four innings before he was relieved by Kevin Kray, who pitched just one inning. Kray was credited with the victory.

The Wildcats wrapped up the series today at 3 p.m. at Tointon Family Stadium.

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