Minnesota Blanks K-State, 3-0
Minnesota Blanks K-State, 3-0
MANHATTAN, Kan. - A three-run first inning is all Minnesota needed as a trio of Gopher pitchers held No. 20 Kansas State in check en route to a 3-0 victory Wednesday afternoon at Tointon Family Stadium.
K-State, which lost its final non-conference game of the regular season, dropped to 31-13 on the year. It was the Cats' first loss to a Big Ten team since a 4-2 setback to Northwestern to open the 2005 season. Minnesota picked up its 20th win of the season, improving to 20-26 overall.
The Wildcats managed only three hits against Minnesota pitching while suffering their first shutout of the season. It was the lowest hit output since a three-hit contest in a shutout loss at Rice in the 2009 NCAA Regional. The loss also marked the first shutout of the Wildcats by a non-conference opponent in the regular season since a 2-0 setback to Northwestern State on February 25, 2005.
Austin Lubinsky (1-2), Billy Soule and Scott Matyas kept K-State's hitters off-balance the entire game. Lubinsky worked the first five innings, allowing singles in the first and second innings before throwing three no-hit innings. Only two other Wildcats reached base against the right-hander coming on a third-inning error and a fifth-inning walk.
Soule entered the game in the sixth and retired nine of the 11 batters he faced before Matyas worked the ninth for his fifth save of the season.
"We just didn't have any energy today," head coach Brad Hill said. "I thought the guys were a little tired and their three-run first inning probably didn't help matters.
"I was pleased with (starting pitcher) Matt Applegate," Hill continued. "Outside of the first inning, I think that was the best he has pitched all season. If it were earlier in the year, he probably doesn't make it out of the second inning, so I thought he competed well and gave us a chance."
Kyle Knudson got Minnesota its first run with a seeing-eye RBI single through the right side of the infield before Nick O'Shea hit his second home run in as many days, a two-run shot over the left-center field wall to give the Gophers their three-run lead. Applegate settled down, recording a career-high five strikeouts in his 3.2 innings of work.
The K-State bullpen was strong and kept the Wildcats in the game as Evan Marshall, Thomas Rooke and James Allen combined to throw 5.1 no-hit innings with six strikeouts. The only blemish came when Marshall walked the first man he faced in the fourth to load the bases, but the sophomore right-hander struck out Michael Kvasnicka to get out of the jam.
The Wildcats tallied 11 strikeouts on the afternoon, the seventh time this season the pitching staff recorded 10 or more strikeouts.Kansas State returns to Big 12 action on Friday as the Wildcats host top-ranked Texas for a three-game set. The series begins with a 6:30 p.m., first pitch at Tointon Family Stadium and the game will be aired on the K-State Sports Network.