WKU Hands K-State First Loss of Season

Jake Brown

Feb. 25, 2011

Final Stats

CONWAY, S.C. – Western Kentucky rapped five extra-base hits, including a trio of home runs, as the Hilltoppers defeated Kansas State, 11-3, Friday evening at Watson Stadium in the Baseball at the Beach tournament.

With the win, Western Kentucky moved to 5-0 on the young season, while K-State suffered its first loss after starting the year 4-0.

K-State jumped ahead early with a three-run homer from Wade Hinkle in the top of the first, but WKU countered with multi-run innings in four of the first six frames to run away with the victory.

After Hinkle’s home run, Hilltopper starting pitcher Tanner Perkins (2-0), settled down to surrender just two hits over the next five innings and combined with Ross Hammonds to keep the Wildcats off the scoreboard the rest of the night. Hammonds recorded his first save of the season after surrendering just two hits with a walk and three strikeouts over the final three innings.

Trying to follow up an impressive performance at Pacific last weekend, Matt Applegate (1-1) took the loss for Kansas State, allowing seven runs on eight hits with three walks and three strikeouts in 4.2 innings of work.

“That is a very good offensive ballclub,” said head coach Brad Hill. “The biggest difference is that they didn’t slow their bats down and we did. Their pitchers got us confused and they were never confused at the plate. They were going to get their swings in and if we made a mistake, they hit it very hard. A lot of credit to their pitcher because after that first inning he pitched really well.”

Western Kentucky catcher Matt Rice hit a two-run double in the bottom of the first inning to cut K-State's lead to one. After a scoreless second inning, the Hilltoppers scored three times in the third, including two when Kes Carter's single was misplayed by Mike Kindel in right field to allow another run to score. The inning was capped with a RBI groundout by Ryan Hutchinson.

Hutchinson hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning, pushing WKU's lead to 7-3.  The Hilltoppers added a solo home run and a two-run shot in the sixth off Wildcat freshman left-hander Shane Conlon to all but put the game away.

The No. 2 through 5 hitters in the Western Kentucky lineup – Ivan Hartle, Carter, Hutchinson and Rice – combined to collect 11 of the 13 Hilltopper hits, while Hutchinson and Rice tallied three RBI apiece.

K-State was led offensively by junior-college transfer Dan Klein, who earned his second start at catcher this season. The Overland Park, Kan., product was 2-for-3 in the contest.

K-State will return to Watson Stadium on Saturday to face Pacific in a 12:30 p.m. (CT) contest. The game can be heard online at both www.k-statesports.com and www.1350kman.com, while listeners in the Manhattan area can catch the game on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN following the conclusion of the men’s basketball game against Missouri.