Cats Score Double-Digit Runs, Win Fourth Straight

MANHATTAN, Kan. - For the third straight game, the K-State baseball team scored double-digit runs as the Wildcats beat Creighton, 10-5, in game one of a two-game series at Tointon Family Stadium on Tuesday.


After scoring three runs in the bottom of the second to take an early 3-0 lead, K-State (8-7), which is on a four-game winning streak, answered the call in every inning that Creighton (5-6) scored as the Wildcats plated runs in all but their first and last at-bats. Leadoff hitter Carter Yagi had a game-high three RBIs while Steve Serratore and Tyler Wolfe also had multi-RBI efforts with two apiece.

"I thought we did another good job tonight," said K-State head coach Brad Hill. "It was different guys tonight, too. Tyler Wolfe got a double, driving in some runs for us. Jake Wodtke came back and got a couple hits after being sick (on Sunday). Overall, it was a good offensive night."

The double-digit output in runs gives the Wildcats 41 runs in the first four games of their current eight-game homestand. K-State had 50 in its first 11 games of the year.

K-State also had double-digit hits, totaling 13 to Creighton's 10. Every Wildcat starter had at least one hit, led by two each from Shane Conlon (2-for-3), Danny Krause (2-for-4), Wodtke (2-for-5) and Yagi (2-for-3). Krause's two hits helped extend his hitting streak to a season-best 12 games while Conlon's two safeties were among the four times he reached base safely as he also had two walks. Over the last two games, Conlon has reached safely eight times in 10 plate appearances.

Although Conlon was stranded on third in the first after hitting a double and advancing on a wild pitch, the Wildcats scored their first three runs of the game with the help of putting their first four runners on base in the second. Wolfe struck first for the K-State offense with a two-run double that drove in Krause and Tyler Moore. Yagi followed up two batters later with a sacrifice fly that scored Dom Thornton.

Creighton quickly responded in the third with a leadoff single by Kevin Connolly, who later came around to score on a two-out single by Nicky Lopez. The response was one-upped by K-State, though, over the third and fourth innings as a leadoff single by Conlon in the bottom half of the third was cashed in by Thornton's RBI infield single with the bases loaded, and Yagi, who reached with a walk to start the fourth, was plated on a groundout by Conlon.

The Bluejays would come as close as two runs after they scored a pair in the top of the fifth to make it 5-3, but once again, the Wildcats answered with a pair of runs of their own, both on a two-out single by Yagi through the left side and past diving Creighton third baseman, Harrison Crawford.

K-State sandwiched a Creighton run in the top of the seventh by scoring a run in the sixth and two in the seventh. For the fourth time in the game, the Wildcats put the leadoff runner on base as Conlon drew the first of his two walks to start the sixth. After Conlon stole second, his team-leading seventh steal of the season, Serratore drove him home with a single into center field. In the seventh, Serratore drew the first of back-to-back bases loaded walks, with the other by Krause, to make the score 10-4.

Starter Kyle Halbohn gave the Wildcats three innings of two-hit baseball, allowing one run and one walk while striking out two. The right-hander earned his first career win in the scheduled short start.

"We probably could have rolled (Halbohn) back out there for a fourth (inning), but we had a game plan from the beginning," added Hill. "It was his first start, and we are going to have to find some guys to start in the midweek."

A quartet of K-State relievers preserved the lead over six innings, led by 2 1/3 innings by Brandon Courville and two from Bryce Ward. Courville's lone run against was unearned in the top of the ninth while Ward was responsible for one run in his longest outing since his second appearance of the season on February 21 vs. Washington.

K-State and Creighton will meet for the series finale in the short two-game set on Wednesday, March 11 at 3 p.m. Right-hander Mark Biesma is scheduled to start for the Wildcats and face Creighton's Rollie Lacy.


NOTES
In addition to K-State's overall four-game winning streak, the Wildcats have won three straight against Creighton, their longest winning streak against the Bluejays since 2001-2003 when they won four consecutive games.

Tuesday was K-State's first win against Creighton in Manhattan since March 3, 2009. All-time, the Wildcats are 36-17-1 (.676) at home against the Bluejays.

The Wildcats have won 24 of their last 25 regular season nonconference games at home.