Cole Johnson and Roberto Pena each hit grand slams Monday as Kansas State baseball completed a four-game series sweep over Stephen F. Austin with a 16-5 victory in Nacogdoches, Texas.
The Wildcats (4-0) drove out a total of five home runs in the win to bring their total to 10 this season, which is the top mark in the Big 12 Conference.
“Happy for our guys. They started hungry and finished a four-game series with conviction and urgency,” said head coach Pete Hughes in a written statement.
Johnson hit a solo shot in the top of the second before adding his grand slam in the third to give K-State a 5-0 lead. Johnson went 3-of-5 on the day with six runs batted in and three runs scored.
Pena’s four-run homer came in the top of the fourth and put the Wildcats ahead 11-2. That was his only hit of the day as he drew two walks.
Kaelen Culpepper went 3-for-5 with four RBIs, three runs scored and a three-run home run in the top of the ninth, while Cash Rugely struck a two-run homer to left-center in the sixth.
K-State tallied 12 total hits, and each starter in the batting order reached base at least once and scored at least once. Wildcats batters drew 12 walks.
“Plate discipline was phenomenal all weekend,” Hughes said. “The walks crowded the bases and allowed our middle guys the opportunity to drive runs in all weekend. Today was no different. The middle of our order was awesome driving in 14 runs.”
The Lumberjacks (0-4) scored twice in the third inning and once each in the fifth, sixth and seventh. They collected 11 hits.
Dalton Beck got the start on the mound for K-State and threw two innings of two-hit, two-run baseball. Blake Corsentino (1-0) earned the win, lasting three innings in relief and allowing one run on four hits. Andrew Evans tossed three innings and gave up two runs on four hits, while Kyler Heyne went one inning and allowed one hit.
“Once again, our relief pitching gave our offense the chance to build,” Hughes said.
Carter Hines (0-1) took the loss for Stephen F. Austin. He threw 2 1/3 innings and gave up five runs on two hits and five walks.
The Wildcats are off to their best start since 2011, and for the first time in the program’s 123-year history, they opened the season with a four-game road sweep. K-State struggled to win away games last year, going 6-17 in opposing teams’ stadiums.
Up next, the Wildcats will head to Round Rock, Texas, to participate in the 2023 Karbach Round Rock Classic this weekend. They will open the classic with No. 1 LSU on Friday before playing Sam Houston State on Saturday and Iowa on Sunday.