Wildcats top Air Force, win 12th straight

By The Mercury

For the third time in the last five games, the Kansas State baseball team shut out its opponent, as the Wildcats beat Air Force 4-0 on Wednesday at Tointon Family Stadium.

K-State (13-7) ended its first set of home games this season with a two-game sweep of Air Force (4-15) and a perfect 9-0 record over the course of the entire homestand, all of which helped extend its winning streak to 12 games — tying the second-longest winning streak in program history.

Led by starting pitcher Colton Kalmus, who didn’t allow a hit in 3 2/3 innings, the K-State pitching staff surrendered only two hits and three base runners on the day. Kalmus struck out four and walked one to help earn his first-career win in his first-career start.

“One walk — that is the name of the game — and there was great defense in the outfield,” K-State head coach Brad Hill said. “Ross (Kivett) made two or three really nice plays out there that stopped some innings on them… Pitching was pretty much the name of the game.”

Landon Busch, spelled Kalmus and surrendered the first Air Force hit of the game on a comebacker in the sixth. The southpaw finished with two strikeouts and one hit allowed in 2 1/3 innings.

Three other K-State relievers — Jake Fromson, Ethan Landon and Jake Matthys — each pitched scoreless innings, with Matthys tossing a perfect ninth frame on just six pitches.

The K-State offense got on the board in the third after Kivett drew a leadoff walk on four pitches from Air Force starter Steven Trojan.

Kivett promptly swiped second with his first of two steals on the day, and was driven in by the next hitter, Shane Conlon, with an RBI single to left.

The Wildcats added a pair of runs in the sixth with a rally started by back-to-back one-out singles from Mitch Meyer and Tanner DeVinny.

Meyer later scored on a throwing error by Air Force second baseman Adam Groesbeck when he was trying to turn a double play on a ground ball hit by Alex Bee.

Bee later scored in the inning on Clayton Dalrymple’s two-out RBI single to make it 3-0 K-State.

RJ Santigate also drove in a run with two outs when he singled in the seventh inning, plating Kivett and capping the game’s scoring at 4-0.

“(Air Force’s) pitching staff did a really nice job today,” Hill said. “We had some big two-strike hits that kind of came through. “

The Wildcats finished with 10 hits, their fifth straight game with double-digit hits.

During the 12-game winning streak, K-State is averaging more than 12 hits per game (147 hits total).

Santigate, Meyer and Dalrymple each finished with two hits apiece and Kivett reached base a team-high three times with an infield single and two walks.

The three shutouts are the most for the Wildcats in a season since they had four in 2008.

K-State will carry its 12-game winning streak into the start of Big 12 play this weekend when it travels to Norman, Okla., to face the Sooners. First pitch in Game 1 of the three-game series is set for 6 p.m. on Friday.

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