K-State Opens Campaign with 11-5 Triumph

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Daniel Dellasega's bases-loaded double highlighted a five-run ninth inning explosion as Kansas State topped Delaware, 11-5, Friday afternoon in the 2010 season-opener at Riley Park in the opening game of The Citadel Memorial Challenge.

The Wildcats, who led throughout the contest, saw a 6-2 lead evaporate in the seventh inning when the Blue Hens scored three times to pull within one run. But, in the ninth, freshman Blair DeBord coaxed a pinch-hit walk to begin a rally that included Dellasega's line-drive double into the left-field corner that put the game out of reach. 

"We had a huge at-bat to begin the inning from Blair DeBord," said head coach Brad Hill. "He fouled off four or five pitches before drawing a walk. That helped to get us started and create some pressure. And then we have Daniel Dellasega come through with a huge hit to give us more of a comfortable lead."

K-State won its fourth season-opening game in the last five years, marking the first time the Wildcats have accomplished the feat since the 1998-02 seasons. The Cats also moved to 4-3 in season-openers under Hill's leadership.

Dellasega, a native of Pittsburg, Kan., went 2-for-3 with three RBI and two runs scored. Matt Giller also tallied a pair of hits and RBI, while Nick Martini was 1-for-5 with two runs driven in.

Starting pitcher Ryan Daniel (1-0) was dominant through the first five innings, retiring nine of the first 10 batters he faced before Delaware scratched a run in the fourth. The senior sprayed four hits with one strikeout and did not allow a walk.

James Allen, who tallied five saves last season, recorded his first save by throwing two scoreless innings with three strikeouts.

Delaware's Nick Young (0-1) took the loss as he allowed four runs on five hits in five innings, but he did strike out seven Wildcats. Carlos Alonso and Hank Yates led the Blue Hens offensively with two hits apiece.

K-State drew first blood in the top of the first as Nick Cocking walked and moved to third on a Carter Jurica single. Martini was next and grounded out to second base, driving in the first run of the season.

The Wildcats came back with a trio of runs in the second inning to take a 4-0 lead as Kent Urban, who reached on a fielder's choice, stole second base and moved to third when Todd Menchaca's throw went into center field. Matt Giller then hit a single up the middle to plate the Cats' second run of the game.

Following a Jake Brown bunt single, Adam Muenster singled to left to bring in Giller. Jurica doubled down the left-field line to bring home Brown and give K-State its four-run advantage.

Daniel, who allowed just one hit in the first three innings, ran into trouble in the fourth inning. Yates led off the inning with an infield single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Ryan Cuneo then hammered a double down the right-field line to score the Blue Hens' first run of the game. However, Daniel retired the next three batters to limit the damage.

In the meantime, Young sat down the Wildcats in order over the third, fourth and fifth innings to keep the game within reach, until he gave way to Kyle Thomas in the top of the sixth.

The left-hander extended K-State's streak of no base hits to 11 batters with a strikeout to begin the sixth. Dellasega broke up the hitless streak with a single up the middle, then moved to third on a single by Urban. A passed ball allowed Dellasega to score and push the Wildcats' lead to 5-1.

Kansas State avoided a potential big inning by Delaware in the sixth. Daniel allowed a leadoff single before he was lifted for relief pitcher Thomas Rooke.  On just his fourth pitch to Yates, Rooke was struck by a line drive off his knee, knocking him out of the game.

Matt Applegate came in and retired the first batter he faced. Pat Dameron was next and grounded out to second to score Alonso from third, before Steve Ulacky flied out to end the frame.

The Wildcats responded with a run in the top of the seventh when Cocking reached on an error and moved to third on a failed pickoff attempt. Jurica then grounded out to short to drive in Cocking and give K-State a 6-2 lead.

The four-run cushion proved important as Delaware scored three runs in the seventh to pull within a run. Josh Dean hit a leadoff double to left field and moved to third on a single by Dave Anderson. Menchaca grounded out to first to score a Dean. Josh Long followed with a single to right-center field and, after a stolen base and a strikeout, he scored on an error to make the score 6-5.

Following DeBord's key walk to begin the ninth, pinch-runner Ryan Moore moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Adam Muenster. Following a strikeout and an intentional walk, Martini produced the Wildcats' third infield hit of the game to Moore.

Following another walk to load the bases and a pitching change, Dellasega laced his double on the first pitch he saw and, after a walk, Giller delivered a RBI single to push the lead to six.

The second game of the opening weekend pits the Wildcats against East Tennessee State on Saturday. First pitch at Riley Park is scheduled for 10 a.m. (CT).