Applegate Pitches Wildcats to Saturday Win

Mike Kindel drove in two runs for the Wildcats

March 5, 2011

Final Stats

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State junior Matt Applegate pitched seven scoreless innings to lead the Wildcats to a 4-1 victory over Western Illinois Saturday afternoon at Tointon Family Stadium.

With the victory, K-State improved to 7-2 on the year, equaling the Wildcats’ mark over nine games from each of the past two seasons. With the loss, the Leathernecks fell to 1-8.

Applegate (2-1) sprayed four hits and struck out four batters in his career-high seven innings, bettering a 6.2-inning outing at Pacific during the opening weekend.

The right-hander was able to find success in pressure situations, stranding WIU base runners in scoring position during three of his seven frames, including the sixth inning when he escaped a first and third situation to keep the Leathernecks off the scoreboard.

Applegate was also helped out by his defense, which turned two double plays on the afternoon and narrowly missed out on a triple play in the fourth when Kent Urban snagged a line drive at first base, tagged a runner out in front of him before a close play on a throw to second base.

“We did much better in keeping our focus, and we made plays,” head coach Brad Hill said. “Applegate was outstanding today. He was able to collect himself during key situations and made pitches instead of over-throwing and elevating pitches.”

Freshman relief pitcher Blake Freeman ended the contest on the hill for K-State, allowing an unearned run on two hits with a pair of walks and a strikeout over the final two innings.

The top five batters in K-State’s lineup – Tanner Witt, Jared King, Nick Martini, Jason King and Mike Kindel – each collected one hit, while Kindel drove in two runs and Jared King scored two of his own.

“We were a little bit better offensively, but we still have a way to go,” Hill said about the K-State hitters. “We had a few more hard contacts today. We also hit a lot of balls right at people, but that’s baseball. We are swinging the bats well, but we just aren’t seeing a lot of hits and runs stack up. Our hitters need to continue to do what they’re doing.”

Western Illinois starter Ryan Wachholder (0-2) took the loss after surrendering four runs – two of which were unearned – on eight hits with three walks and a strikeout in six innings of work.

Kansas State was able to get on the scoreboard first for the second day in a row as the Cats plated two runs in the first inning. Witt led off with a walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jared King, but Wachholder’s throw attempting to throw King out at first was off line, allowing the Wildcat freshman to reach safely.

Wachholder then walked Martini – extending his streak of reaching base safely to 68 games – to load the bases before Jason King drove a sacrifice fly into center field to bring in Witt. Kindel was next and hit a ground ball to the right side, giving K-State an early two-run lead.

The Cats came back with another run in the third when Jared King singled to lead off the inning, moved to second and third on consecutive outs and then scored when Kindel roped a line-drive single into right field, extending the lead to 3-0.

Western Illinois was able to work around a pair of leadoff singles by Kansas State in both the fourth and fifth innings to keep the deficit at three, but Martini pushed the lead to 4-0 on a sacrifice fly in the seventh.

The Leathernecks loaded the bases in the ninth inning with a single and two walks before a passed ball brought in WIU’s only run of the afternoon.

Matt Igara paced Western Illinois offensively by going 2-for-4.

The Wildcats and Leathernecks will conclude their four-game series with a doubleheader on Sunday beginning at 11 a.m., at Tointon Family Stadium. A live webcast of the doubleheader is available through K-State’s multimedia channel, K-State All-Access, at www.k-statesports.com, while listeners in the Manhattan area can hear both games on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN.

Season and single-game tickets remain on sale for the 2011 season through the K-State Athletics Ticket office. Aside from purchasing tickets at the stadium box office, fans can also order online at www.k-statesports.com/tickets, by phone at (800) 221-CATS or at the office inside Bramlage Coliseum.