Early Deficit Too Much in 6-2 Loss at Cal

BERKELEY, Calif. - The K-State baseball team fell behind early, as much as 5-0 after four innings, as the Wildcats dropped the second game of the series at Cal, 6-2, on Sunday at Evans Diamond.


The Golden Bears (7-3) scored four of their five runs off K-State starting pitcher Colton Kalmus (three earned), who threw a season-low 3 1/3 innings in his third appearance of the season (second start). The right-hander surrendered a run in the first and second innings before being chased from the game after allowing a leadoff single, sacrifice bunt and hit by pitch in the fourth.

The offense of K-State (4-6), meanwhile, took until the top of the fourth to register a base hit into the outfield while three of its six hits occurred to start the fifth inning.

"It all started with that we weren't ready to play today - and that's on me," said K-State head coach Brad Hill. "We were flat, which was totally different than the last five games. We are not a very good ball club when we don't bring intensity, I can tell you that. Everyone was flat, on the field and in the dugout, and (Cal) took advantage of it."

A night after going 5-for-14 with two outs, the Wildcat bats were hitless in six at-bats with two outs while producing one hit with runners in scoring position. K-State was only able to put runners in scoring position in the fifth and ninth innings, the two frames in which it scored. The lone tally in the last inning came on a Cal wild pitch.

Cal, on the other hand, struck when it mattered, going 4-for-11 with runners in scoring position. It started in the first when, following a double play moved leadoff hitter Aaron Knapp to third base, Brett Cumberland delivered a single to plate Knapp. Kalmus issued a base on balls to Chris Paul after Cumberland's single, but the redshirt sophomore induced a groundout to halt the first.

In the second, a one-out throwing error by shortstop Tyler Wolfe put Cal's Preston Grand Pre on second base. Knapp was then dealt a walk before Devin Pearson hit an RBI single to plate Grand Pre from second.

The Golden Bears registered a three-run fourth, keyed by an RBI single by Knapp and two-run double by Pearson, both hits off K-State reliever Kyle Halbohn. Pearson was thrown out at third on a relay from center field during his double, though, to help stop the momentum.

K-State surrendered the sixth and final Cal run in the seventh when Mark Biesma threw a wild pitch that allowed Lucas Erceg, who reached with a leadoff single, to score from third base.

Kalmus took the loss, his first of 2015. In addition to the three earned runs allowed, he walked two and struck out one.

"(Kalmus) wasn't sharp," said Hill. "He was throwing balls out, balls in - he just didn't have really good command today. He's a competitor, but at the same time, he just didn't have good command of what he was doing."

Cal starting pitcher Ryan Mason limited the Wildcats in his seven innings of work. The right-hander scattered five hits while walking one and striking out one to earn his second victory of the season.

The K-State offense did not strike for its first run until the fifth inning when Danny Krause, Steve Serratore and Tyler Moore strung together three straight singles to make it a 5-1 deficit. However, back-to-back groundballs, a fielder's choice by Browning and double play by Wolfe, halted the promising start to the frame.

For the second straight game and sixth time in the last seven games, the Wildcats scored a run in the ninth inning. After Shane Conlon walked and pinch-hitter Taylor Anderson and Moore were issued two-out free passes, Cal reliever Chris Muse-Fisher threw a wild pitch into the dirt that allowed Conlon to score and Anderson and Moore to advance one base. However, Max Brown struck out for the second time in his two at-bats to end the game.

K-State will look to stave off the Cal sweep in the series finale on Monday at 10 a.m. PT. Right-hander Corey Fischer will start for the Wildcats and face Cal's southpaw, Matt Ladrech.


NOTES
Danny Krause, one of six different Wildcats with a hit on Sunday, extended his hitting streak to seven games by going 1-for-4. The junior, who batted in the cleanup spot for the first time this season, has the longest active hitting streak on K-State.

Carter Yagi went 0-for-4, halting his six-game hitting streak.

Ethan Klosterboer, who entered the game as a defensive replacement, recorded his first career hit in the eighth inning off Erik Martinez. The freshman is 1-for-2 in four games this season.