K-State Loses Second in a Row to Start Season

Feb. 16, 2014

Box Score | Notes

K-State Athletics

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – For the second straight night, the K-State baseball team’s offense could not counter Cal Poly’s pitching as the No. 18 Wildcats fell 5-2 to the Mustangs on Saturday at Baggett Stadium.

Despite taking an early 1-0 lead on an RBI infield single from designated hitter Tanner DeVinny, K-State mustered five hits against a trio of Cal Poly pitchers led by starter Slater Lee. The Cal Poly freshman limited the Wildcats to one run and two hits while striking out seven to earn the win in his first collegiate start.

“Early in the season – second game in – and you feel like you are pressing,” said head coach Brad Hill. “[Cal Poly] is fighting, scratching and clawing, playing like the way we normally play, but we are playing pressed and tight. We’re going to have to find a way to loosen up a little bit.”

While the K-State offense struggled again, the Wildcat pitchers did their part to keep K-State in the game. Starting pitcher Jared Moore – in his first start since May of 2012 – threw a career-high 5 1/3 innings. The senior scattered eight hits and was responsible for three runs, all earned, in the losing decision.

“I’m very pleased with the pitching,” said Hill. “It’s been fine and giving us a chance to win. Offensively, we got to find ourselves a little bit.”

Moore faced some trouble in the first inning, but the left-hander induced an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded. Moore got another inning-ending double play in the fourth inning, preserving at the time K-State’s 1-0 lead.

Moore came out to pitch the sixth frame not having allowed a run yet, but he surrendered three straight hits after getting a groundout to start the inning. Brian Mundell capped the stretch of three straight hits off Moore with an RBI single that tied the game at 1-1 and chased Moore from the contest.

Redshirt freshman Nate Griep relieved Moore, but the Mustangs continued to stage their threat. Griep loaded the bases with an intentional walk to John Schuknecht, and Mark Mathias countered with a sacrifice fly to left field that allowed Mundell to score and give Cal Poly a 2-1 advantage.

Griep again the loaded the bases with a free pass to Peter Van Gansen and was removed for Jake Whaley. The right-hander hit the first batter he faced, Chris Hoo, to force home a run and make it 3-1 Mustangs.

Cal Poly added a pair of insurance runs in the eighth inning off Jake Matthys with RBI base hits by Van Gansen and Jordan Ellis. Whaley started the eighth inning with his second hit by a pitch of the night when he drilled Mathias with a pitch on a 0-2 count.

Whaley allowed one run in 1 1/3 innings in his K-State debut. Matthys surrendered three hits and one run in his one inning of work in his 2014 debut. Both Whaley and Matthys each had a strikeout.

Max Brown, who entered the game as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning, drove in Austin Fisher with a two-out, RBI double to the left field corner in the top of the ninth that made it 5-2. It was the first K-State extra-base hit of the year.

Fisher was the only Wildcat to reach base more than once as he had an infield single and was hit by a pitch. The junior has reached base four times in his eight plate appearances so far this season.

K-State will look to salvage a win in the series on Sunday at 1 pm PT/3 pm CT. Sophomore Jordan Witcig of the Wildcats will oppose Cal Poly’s sophomore Casey Bloomquist. The Wildcats did not lose three straight games all of last season.