Jurica, Martini Lead Cats Past Gophers

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Carter Jurica and Nick Martini each collected four hits to lead an explosive Kansas State offense as the No. 20 Wildcats defeated Minnesota, 12-6, Tuesday evening at Tointon Family Stadium.

K-State improved to 31-12 on the season and equaled the 1976 and 2009 squads for most victories in school history through 43 games. The win was the first for the Wildcats over Minnesota in seven tries and the 10th-straight against Big Ten opponents. Minnesota fell to 19-26.

The four-hit games by Jurica and Martini were the most since Jurica teamed with Adam Muenster for a pair of four-hit contests against Harvard on March 7 this season. Jurica, whose night included his seventh home run of the season and second in as many games, and Martini both drove in three runs.

The Wildcats received solid pitching performances from starter Kayvon Bahramzadeh and reliever Tyler Giannonatti (2-0). Bahramzadeh allowed just one run on two hits in his first four innings of work before running into trouble in the fifth with K-State leading 8-0.  Minnesota's Andy Henkemeyer and Michael Kvasnicka recorded RBI singles off the sophomore right-hander before Giannonatti entered the game. The Gophers added a run-scoring ground out off Giannonatti, but the freshman then retired eight of the next 11 batters en route to his second win of the season.

"I was really pleased with the performance on the mound," head coach Brad Hill said. "My main concern was how we were going to pitch after what happened last weekend. Kayvon gave us a really good start tonight and Tyler gave us good innings."

Giannonatti, who tied his career-high with three innings pitched, registered a career-high three strikeouts.

Muenster, who entered the game with the fourth-longest active hitting streak in the nation, went 2-for-5 with three runs scored to extend his streak to 25 games. The Omaha, Neb., product is now tied for the second-longest hitting streak in school history and needs a hit in Wednesday's game to tie Martini's record of 26 set earlier this season.

Minnesota pitchers twice hit Daniel Dellasega, bringing the total to 25 the times he's been struck this season by pitches to break the Big 12 record. Dellasega passed Oklahoma State's Billy Gasparino, who was hit 24 times in 1999.

Kansas State broke open the game early with eight runs in the first three innings. In the first, Martini and Kent Urban connected on consecutive run-scoring triples to give the Cats a 3-0 lead. The Wildcats added four runs in the second, including two on a double by Jurica. Martini added an RBI single in the third to push K-State's advantage to 8-0.

The Gophers got back into the game by scoring a run in the fourth and three in the fifth while Gopher reliever Luke Rasmussen kept K-State in check. The Minnesota left-hander entered the game with two on and no outs in the third inning and retired 12 of 16 batters he faced to get out of the jam and keep Kansas State off the board.

With the lead narrowed to 8-4, the Wildcat offense came back to life with four runs in the seventh. Jurica slammed a towering solo-home run over the trees beyond the left-field wall to start the rally. Martini followed with a single before Dellasega doubled him home to knock Rasmuessen out of the game.  Tim Ryan entered the game and Blair DeBord greeted him with a two-RBI double down the right-field line to put the Cats ahead 12-4.

K-State and Minnesota conclude their two-game series with a 3 p.m., contest Wednesday at Tointon Family Stadium.