K-State Surrenders Big Inning to Lose Second Straight Game




8-10 (0-0 SoCon)

11-8 (0-0 Big 12)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
WCU 0 0 0 0 0 5 1 0 0 6 10 1
KST 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 6 1
W: Sammons (3-1) L: Rigler (2-3) S: Nobles (2)
  • Time of Game: 3:00
  • First Pitch: 2:05 pm
  • Temperature: 42 F
  • Wind: NW 15-25
  • Attendance: 1,794

– K-State surrendered a five-run sixth but had the game-tying run on deck in the eighth before eventually falling to Western Carolina, 6-2, on Saturday at Tointon Family Stadium.

The Wildcats (11-8) allowed a big inning for the third time in the first two games of the series against Western Carolina (8-10). On Friday, K-State allowed a three-run fifth and four-run seventh to eventually fall, 7-5.

Saturday’s big inning, which started with a leadoff home run by Matt Smith off K-State starting pitcher Parker Rigler, featured four of Western Carolina’s 10 hits as well as a walk by Rigler and subsequent hit by pitch delivered by reliever Brogan Heinen. Both the walk and hit by pitch eventually scored.

“The big inning is haunting us right now,” said K-State head coach Brad Hill. “(There are) just way too many big innings that we are giving up, or we are not able to limit or minimize. That hurt ourselves a little bit with the walk and hit by a pitch. We were just not executing pitches in those tight situations that we need to execute.”

After the Wildcats left the bases loaded in the fifth, the Catamounts built upon their leadoff homer in the sixth by getting two-run singles by J.D. Long and Garrett Brown off Heinen to make it a 5-0 lead. Brown’s single was delivered with two outs.

“That five-spot is hard to recover from, even though I expect that (we will recover) and our guys need to expect that,” said Hill.

Western Carolina added its final run with a two-out infield single in the seventh by Kramer Ferrell that plated Danny Bermudez, who started the inning with his only hit of the game.

K-State was hitless through the first three innings, neutralized by Western Carolina starting pitcher Bryan Sammons. The left-hander held the Wildcats scoreless over seven innings while striking out seven.

Dalrymple tallied the first K-State hit when he led off the fourth with one of his two hits. The senior moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Jake Wodtke, but he was caught stealing at third with Tyler Wolfe at the plate.

In the fifth, a softly-hit infield single by Brooks Zimmerman and back-to-back two-out walks drawn by Danny Krause and Josh Ethier loaded the bases for Dalrymple. The K-State centerfielder, however, grounded out on the first pitch delivered by Sammons. 

The Wildcats were retired six in a row by Sammons over the sixth and seventh before they staged their biggest threat when Western Carolina turned to the bullpen for the first time. Catamount reliever Corey Sikes set down the first two batters he faced in the eighth, but a double by Dalrymple not only snapped a stretch of nine consecutive retired Wildcats but also set up an RBI triple off the bat of Wodtke. Wodtke was then driven home when Wolfe hit a line drive up the middle that deflected off the glove of Sikes. 

K-State went on to put runners on the corners after Josh Rolette singled up the middle and Wolfe advanced to third on an errant throw by Western Carolina shortstop Brett Pope. Jake Scudder, who had a pair of two-out RBI in game one of the series on Friday, hit a 2-2 pitch off Sikes over the right field fence but just foul that would have pulled the Wildcats within one. Western Carolina immediately went to the bullpen after the foul ball, and B.J. Nobles caught Scudder looking for a third strike to end the inning.

“Some guys are trying too hard,” added Hill. “We need that big two-out hit, which we have been doing really well. We are just trying to sit fastball and we get a fastball, but yet we swing at it. We just make bad contact.”

Nobles went on to pick up his second save of the season after he threw a scoreless bottom of the ninth. The right-hander had two runners on base in the ninth after a third-strike wild pitch and hit batter, but he induced a fly out by Dalrymple to end the game.

The six hits by the Wildcats were there fewest in a game since having five in a loss to Milwaukee on March 11. Dalrymple was the only Wildcat with more than one hit.

Rigler took the loss for the Wildcats after being charged with three runs on five hits and three walks over 5 1/3 innings. It was only the second time this season the junior did not pitch six or more innings in a start. He also struck out six, two shy of his career-high.

K-State will look to salvage a win in the series in the finale on Sunday. The Wildcats will start freshman Jacob Ruder on the mound. Western Carolina is scheduled to start left-hander Tristan Baker.

This is the first time K-State has lost the first two games of a non-conference series at home since 2013 against Cal Poly.

The Wildcats have lost four straight to Southern Conference opponents, dropping their all-time record to 1-5.

Josh Rolette extended his hitting streak to seven games and on-base streak to 12. Both stretches trail Steve Serratore (12-game hitting, 16-game on-base) for the longest active streaks by a Wildcat in both categories.