Hinkle's Homer Sends K-State Past Pioneers

Dan Klein hit his first-career grand slam in the first inning

April 5, 2012

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MANHATTAN, Kan. - Wade Hinkle's towering two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh broke a 7-7 tie and propelled Kansas State past Sacred Heart, 9-7, Thursday night at Tointon Family Stadium. With the win, the Wildcats improved to 15-14 overall and snapped a two-game skid. The Pioneers fell to 10-17 with the loss.

The game's 16 combined runs were all produced in only two innings. Sacred Heart scored four in the top of the first before K-State answered with seven in the bottom half of the frame. The teams went scoreless for the next five innings until the Pioneers rallied for three runs in the top of the seventh to tie the game at 7-7.

Tanner Witt opened K-State's half of the seventh with a walk, but was thrown out trying to steal second base. With two outs, Blair DeBord hammered a 2-2 pitch off the right-field wall for a double. Hinkle, who had walked twice and been hit by a pitch in his earlier at-bats, smashed the third pitch he saw over the right-center field wall for his team-leading 15th and 16th two-out RBI of the year.

Johnny Fasola worked a scoreless eighth inning before Nate Williams slammed the door on Sacred Heart in the ninth for his fourth save of the season.

"After the top of the first, you hope you can come back and score a couple to put yourself back into it," head coach Brad Hill said. "It was great focus. There was a sense of urgency. We got good pitches to hit and we hit them flat instead of up in the air, but then it went away."

Witt led the Wildcats with three hits, including a RBI single in the first inning. In the process, the outfielder extended his career-long streak of consecutive games reaching base to 22, while he collected his third three-hit game of the year.

Catcher Dan Klein went 2-for-4 including his first career grand slam in the first inning, a shot down the left-field line that left the stadium just inside the foul pole. It was K-State's third grand slam of the season, which is tied with the 2006 and 2010 squads for the most in Hill's nine seasons at Kansas State.

Jon Davis preceded Klein's grand slam with a RBI single as part of a 2-for-4 night. Over his last four starts, Davis is 8-for-15 (.533) after recording just one hit in his first 19 at-bats of the season.

Freshman left-hander Robert Youngdahl picked up the win in relief as he retired the final two batters of the seventh inning. Sacred Heart starter Nick Leiningen (2-3) suffered the loss by allowing all nine Wildcat runs on 11 hits with five walks in seven innings of work.

The Pioneers were led offensively by Dave Boisture, who went 3-for-4 with a run scored. Keaton Flint, Hunter Phillips and Dan Perez each recorded two hits, while Phillips and John Murphy drove in a pair of runs.

Sacred Heart jumped out on top 4-0 in the first inning on a pair of run-scoring singles by Murphy and Perez, while another run scored on a balk. The Pioneers scored their three runs in the seventh on Phillips' two-run triple before Murphy hit a sacrifice fly to center field.

Kansas State and Sacred Heart continue their three-game series on Friday with a 6:30 p.m., first pitch at Tointon Family Stadium. The contest serves as K-State Faculty/Staff Night as Kansas State University staff can purchase $3 general admission bench tickets with a valid K-State ID. Also, a pregame tailgate will begin at 5 p.m., directly behind the stadium off College Avenue.

To order tickets, fans can contact the K-State Athletics Ticket office by phone at 1-800-221-CATS, online at www.k-statesports.com/tickets or at the ticket office inside Bramlage Coliseum. Friday's game will be shown world-wide on K-StateHD.TV and can be heard in the Manhattan area on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN as well as online at www.k-statesports.com and www.1350kman.com.