Applegate's Near No-Hitter Highlights Saturday Doubleheader

Jason King hit his second home run of the season in game one

March 12, 2011

Game One Box  |   Game Two Box

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State junior pitcher Matt Applegate pitched 8.1 innings of no-hit ball to lead the Wildcats to a game-one victory, while Long Island came out on fire to take the second game as K-State and LIU split a doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Tointon Family Stadium.

Applegate (3-1) lost his no-hit bid with one out in the ninth when Long Island catcher Tyler Jones poked a single into center field. The Wildcats, who were also no-hit through five innings, were able to break through by scoring twice in the seventh and once in the eighth to win the first game, 3-0.

The Blackbirds were quick to put runs on the board in game two as they scored three times in the first inning while LIU starter Justin Topa surrendered just one run in his six innings of a scheduled seven-inning contest. Long Island brought in Evan Zerff to close out the game in the seventh when K-State scored once and had the tying run on at first base, but a Zerff strikeout gave the Blackbirds a 4-2 win.

With the doubleheader split, the Wildcats are now 11-3 on the season and suffered their first home loss in seven tries. Long Island is now 4-6 heading into the series finale on Sunday.

Applegate, a product of Wichita, Kan., was two outs away from recording the Wildcats’ first no-hitter since Lon Ostrom no-hit Oklahoma State in a seven-inning game in 1976. The right-hander walked a batter with two outs in each of the first three frames before retiring the side in order over the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. A one-out hit-by-pitch in the seventh preceded another 1-2-3 inning in the eighth inning before Jones’ single in the ninth.

“He was great today despite not having a good inside pitch,” head coach Brad Hill said. “For really pitching to one half of the plate for most of the day, he did an outstanding job. I thought early in the game he got up in the count and really tried to muscle pitches into the zone, which they hit hard right at somebody. Later, he made some great 0-2 pitches. He really let his pitches work today, and he had great maturity as well.”

James Allen came in to retire the final two batters of the ninth to collect his fourth save of the year and the 18th of his career, tying David Johnson (1994-97) for second place all-time at Kansas State.

Applegate and Allen, who forced a fielder’s choice and a ground out in the final two LIU at-bats, recorded Kansas State’s first combined one-hitter since Jim Ripley, Eric Rollins and Matt Peterson one-hit Alabama in 2004.

Applegate picked up his second straight victory and third of the year after just three wins in his first two seasons at K-State. He tallied six strikeouts as opposed to three walks and faced just four over the minimum in a career high 121 pitches.

“I sprayed it around the zone early, but was able to settle down and work with (K-State catcher Dan) Klein,” said Applegate. “I wasn’t able to get the inside fastball going early, but we worked together and it worked out well. Early in the season, I was struggling when getting ahead in the count, but today was a little better and I hope this outing can help me in the future.”

Long Island starting pitcher Matt McCormick (0-1) matched Applegate through the first five innings of game one as he no-hit the Wildcats until a Dan Klein infield single in the sixth. Kansas State had runners on first and third with two outs in the inning, but could not plate the game’s first run.

Jason King led off the Wildcat seventh by falling behind 0-2 in the at-bat before battling back to even the count at 2-2. That’s when the third baseman turned on an inside pitch and belted his second home run of the year over the left-field wall to break open the scoreless game.

The Wildcats plated another run in the inning when Klein hustled out an infield hit with two outs to score Mike Kindel from third, while K-State grabbed one more in the eighth on a RBI single by Nick Martini.

Klein led the Cats offensively in the first game by going 2-for-3 with one RBI.

Game two saw the Blackbirds jump all over K-State starter Justin Lindsey (2-1) from the beginning as the right-hander did not record an out before being lifted from the game. Lindsey walked the first three batters of the contest before Drew Walsh doubled down the right-field line to plate two. A ground ball by Matt Molbury scored another run, while Lindsey’s fourth walk in six batters faced would bring an end to his day.

Kayvon Bahramzadeh came out of the bullpen with the bases loaded and no one out to strike out the first batter he faced before inducing a double play to get out of the jam. The right-hander kept the Wildcats in the game as he sat down the Blackbirds over the next three innings until surrendering a run in the fifth. The junior threw four innings of relief, giving up a run on three hits, while walking two and striking out three.

Evan Marshall also kept the Blackbirds in check after entering the game in the fifth, tossing three no-hit innings with three strikeouts.

Kansas State had a tough time stringing hits together against Topa (2-1), who allowed one run on four hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Topa worked around a leadoff walk in the first and a two-out single in the second before Chase Graskewicz doubled to lead off the third and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jared King.

After LIU scored its run in the fifth off Bahramzadeh to make the score 4-1, the Wildcats had a great chance in the bottom half to get within one when Tanner Witt reached on a two-out throwing error by LIU third baseman Diego Perez, which moved Jake Brown to third. But Witt tried to advance to second on the play and was thrown out to end the inning.

Kansas State began its seventh-inning comeback attempt with one on and two out in the seventh when Brown singled to put runners on the corners and bring up Witt. During Witt’s at-bat, Jones tried to pick Brown off first on a snap throw, which got away from first baseman Derek Stupski, allowing pinch runner Ryan Moore to score from third.

Witt singled to left-field on a full-count pitch and represented the tying run at first base, but Zerff struck out Jared King to earn his second save of the year.

Walsh paced LIU in game two as he was 2-for-4 with three RBI, while Witt and Brown each went 2-for-3 for the Wildcats.

Martini, who was 1-for-3 in game one and worked two walks in game two, extended his nation-leading streak of consecutive games reaching base safely to 74 games.

The Wildcats and Blackbirds conclude their four-game series on Sunday with a 12 p.m. contest at Tointon Family Stadium. Tickets for the game are on sale at the stadium box office, while fans can also purchase season or single-game tickets through the K-State Athletics Ticket office online at www.k-statesports.com/tickets.