K-State Swept by Cal after 9-1 Loss in Finale

BERKELEY, Calif. - The K-State baseball team surrendered five runs in the first inning, leading to a 9-1 defeat at the hands of Cal on Monday as the Wildcats were swept by the Golden Bears in the three-game series at Evans Diamond.


K-State starting pitcher Corey Fischer saw each of the first six batters he faced to start the game reach base, with four on singles, one on an error and another on a walk, as Cal (8-3) quickly grabbed a 5-0 advantage. The Wildcats (4-7) surrendered the first run when Shane Conlon committed a fielding error on a sharply hit groundball before the next three scored on RBI singles and the final on a groundout.

Despite putting a runner in scoring position in three of the first five innings, K-State's offense could not answer's Cal's crooked first until the sixth. K-State, which had seven hits to Cal's nine in the game, only had one base hit after scoring its lone run in the sixth.

"We're not balanced right now," said K-State head coach Brad Hill. "(Cal) got five in the first, and we're already battling and scrambling and then those runs take the emotion out of us. We have to answer the bell, though, especially when Fischer resets. He throws some zeros up there (from the second through fourth innings), and we have to score a couple of runs to get momentum back on our side and give us new life."

Fischer, coming off a quality start against Washington State on February 22 in which he threw a career-high six innings, finished throwing four-plus innings and allowing five runs, three earned, on seven hits and four walks. The junior took the loss, his first of the season.

Cal starting pitcher Matt Ladrech continued a stretch in the series in which all three Golden Bear starters threw seven innings. The southpaw allowed just the one run while scattering all seven of the Wildcats' hits.

The defeat extends K-State's losing streak to a season-high three games. It is also the first time K-State was swept in a road nonconference series since February 14-16, 2014 at Cal Poly.

The Wildcat offense struck for its only run when Clayton Dalrymple and Shane Conlon laid down back-to-back bunt singles to help set up a two-out RBI single by Steve Serratore. The two-out RBI was the first for K-State on a base hit in the entire series.

Cal, however, responded in the bottom half of the sixth with three runs, two initially on a throwing error by K-State reliever Jackson Douglas. The southpaw, who hit Denis Karas to start the frame and then surrendered a bunt single to Aaron Knapp, cleanly fielded Devin Pearson's sacrifice bunt attempt but made an errant throw over Conlon's head to allow Karas and Knapp to score and Pearson to reach third base. Two batters later, Douglas allowed Pearson to score on Brett Cumberland's sacrifice fly in the foul territory of right field.

After Bryce Ward threw a perfect seventh inning for K-State, Cal added a bonus run in the eighth following back-to-back base hits and a sacrifice fly off Brandon Erickson.

Monday was the second time this season K-State has allowed nine or more runs in a game. Meanwhile, the Wildcats scored two runs or less in each of the three games of the series while they were out-scored, 19-5.

"We go from playing well last weekend (in Arizona) to not playing so well this weekend, unfortunately," said Hill. "We have to repair ourselves. We're continuing to learn about ourselves and we need to figure some things out. We know that we have a good club, we saw that last weekend, but it also shows how quickly things can change."

K-State will now return to Manhattan for its home-opener set for Friday, March 6 against Santa Clara. First pitch against the Broncos at Tointon Family Stadium is set for 3 p.m.

"Santa Clara is a very comparable team to Cal," added Hill, "so it's not going to get any easier at home."


NOTES
K-State went 4-for-21 with runners in scoring position in the series, with only three of the four hits producing runs. Overall, the Wildcats had 22 hits in the series while Cal had 26.


Both Shane Conlon and Steve Serratore went 1-for-4 on Monday, extending their respective on-base streaks to 11 games.

Danny Krause, who went 5-for-12 in the series, extended his hitting streak to eight games after an infield single in the top of the first inning. The eight-game streak is the longest active hitting streak by a Wildcat.