Wildcats Top Niagara, 10-1, for Midweek Sweep

Freshman right-hander Blake McFadden earned the win in his first start

March 6, 2013

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MANHATTAN, Kan. - Four Kansas State batters registered multi-hit games, including a three-hit contest by Joe Goodwin, as the Wildcats completed a two-game sweep of Niagara with a 10-1 victory Wednesday at Tointon Family Stadium.

K-State, which has won its first five home games, improved to 8-3 while the Purple Eagles dropped to 3-9.

The Wildcats pounded 12 hits in the contest, including five that went for extra bases. K-State smashed three triples, the most in a game since 2011, while Goodwin was only a home run away from hitting for the cycle. The top four in the K-State lineup - Tanner Witt, Shane Conlon, Jared King and Ross Kivett - led the charge with a combined seven hits, including the latter three with two-hits apiece.

"If those first four guys do that all the time, we're going to have success," head coach Brad Hill said. "We expect that out of them. Those first four guys are older and have experience, and I have lot of confidence in what they're capable of doing."

In its first five home contests, Kansas State has averaged 9.2 runs on 11.4 hits with nine doubles, seven triples and four home runs.

Goodwin, a transfer from Hutchinson Community College, entered Wednesday's game with just two hits in his first 10 at-bats of the season, but starred in his third start of the year. The Overland Park, Kan., product singled and scored in the second inning, doubled and scored in the fourth and registered a two-out triple in the seventh.

Conlon, who singled in the sixth and recorded a RBI double as part of a four-run eighth inning, has hit safely in all 11 games this season. It is the second-longest streak by a Wildcat to open a season since Hill's first year in 2004.

"He's an even-keeled guy," Hill said of Conlon. "Bad at-bats don't get in his head. He just plays the game hard all the time, and he makes good adjustments inside the game. He has a baseball mentality, which allows him to have success."

King singled in his first two at-bats, including the first inning when he scored the game's initial run on a dropped pop fly in the infield with two outs. Kivett hit a RBI infield single to drive in a run in the sixth inning before singling and scoring in the eighth.

A day after senior Jake Doller won his first career start, freshman right-hander Blake McFadden picked up the win in his first start as the Savannah, Mo., product allowed just one earned run on three hits with no walks and three strikeouts in five innings.

The Wildcat bullpen was dominant for the second-straight day as Jared Moore, Levi MaVorhis, Landon Busch and Witt combined for four shutout frames, while Niagara was held without a hit over the final 3.2 innings. K-State, which had a pair of relief pitchers toss four shutout innings Tuesday, faced just two over the minimum over the final six innings Wednesday, while the Wildcat bullpen has not given up an earned run at home this year.

"We pitched it really well today," Hill said. "Midweek games can be tough. It was great to see Blake McFadden do well in his first start, while the relief corps did a great job behind him."

The Wildcats' two other triples Wednesday came from Austin Fisher and Mitch Meyer. Fisher's triple went to right-center field to drive in Goodwin in the second inning, and he later scored on a Witt sacrifice fly. Meyer recorded a RBI pinch-hit triple for the second time in the last four games when he drove home Kivett in the eighth inning. Meyer scored the Wildcats' final run of the day on a wild pitch.

Niagara starting pitcher Joel Klock (0-1) suffered the loss in his first outing of the year after allowing five runs (two earned) on five hits with a walk and two strikeouts in four innings. Thomas Rodrigues led the Purple Eagles offensively with two hits, while the only Niagara run scored in the third inning on a wild pitch.

The Wildcats continue their 19-game homestand against 21st-ranked Cal Poly, Friday through Sunday, at Tointon Family Stadium. The series begins with a 3 p.m., contest Friday and continues Saturday at 2 p.m., before an 11 a.m., series finale on Sunday.

The Friday and Saturday games serve as the first pregame tailgate of the year, while Saturday is also a Team/Camper Day. Sunday is a Family Day as fans can purchase a Wildcat 4 Pack that includes four general admission bench tickets and four concession vouchers for $30, while all kids can run the bases after the game. Tickets for the Cal Poly series, or any of the other 23 remaining home games, can be purchased online at www.k-statesports.com/tickets, by phone at 1-800-221-CATS or in person at the K-State Athletics Ticket office inside Bramlage Coliseum.

All three games can be seen world-wide on K-StateHD.TV. The Friday and Sunday contests will be aired in the Manhattan area on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN, while all live audio of all three games is available for free online at both www.k-statesports.com and www.1350kman.com.