K-State Shuts Out KU, 11-0, in Series Opener

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- K-State recorded its largest shutout ever in the all-time series against KU on Friday as the Wildcats blanked the Jayhawks, 11-0, in the series opener at Hoglund Ballpark.


K-State starting pitcher Nate Griep tossed seven unblemished innings, stretching his consecutive scoreless inning streak to 16 frames, while the Wildcat offense notched 14 hits, 13 of which were singles, to help K-State (25-27, 9-13 Big 12) record its 18th shutout in the Sunflower Showdown series.

The win was the Wildcats' fourth straight in Lawrence and seventh in the last eight such contests. Friday also marked K-state's first shutout at KU (22-31, 7-14 Big 12) since May 16, 2008 (5-0) and fifth overall this year.

Jake Wodtke recorded a career-high three hits to lead the K-State offense, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a walk. The redshirt sophomore was one of five Wildcats with a multi-hit effort, a quintet that included seniors Max Brown (2-for-5, 2 RBIs) and Carter Yagi (2-for-6, RBI, 2 runs scored). Juniors Tyler Wolfe (2-for-5, 2 RBIs) and Tyler Moore (2-for-5) also had two hits each.

"I thought we played really hard tonight," said K-State head coach Brad Hill. "We had a great approach, offensively. Guys were going up there trying to compete."

Griep improved to 6-2 on the season after matching his career-high in strikeouts with eight over the seven innings. The redshirt sophomore threw 120 pitches in his second straight quality start and sixth overall this year, scattering five hits and five walks. The right-hander lowered his ERA to 2.35 while improving his strikeout total to 63, the most by a Wildcat pitcher since 2012.

"Griep just competed," said Hill. "He wasn't sharp early, [threw] a lot of pitches, and then he just settled in. He came through, especially when we needed him."

Brown, who reached base safely three times with a hit by pitch to go with his two hits, played a role in each of K-State's first three runs. After the Wildcats loaded the bases in the second, sparked by Brown's infield single, KU catcher Michael Tinsley one-hopped a throw back to the pitcher Ben Krauth between pitches to allow Brown to score from third on the first of the Jayhawks' three errors in the game. Brown then made it 3-0 with a two-out, two-run single in the third, driving in Shane Conlon and Yagi.

"That was an outstanding, heads-up play by Max on the throw back from the catcher," said Hill. "So many guys drop their head, go back to the base. His eyes were up, the ball got by the pitcher and we were able to score on the play. That was a huge hit, too [by Brown]. You make the out, and all of sudden it's two outs, runners on second and third. If you don't score, it's a huge momentum swing for [KU]."

K-State busted out for six runs on five hits and two walks in the sixth, stretching its lead to 9-0. A groundout by Brown started the inning, but back-to-back walks drawn by Danny Krause and Clayton Dalrymple were followed up by Sam Chadick's single into right-center field that loaded the bases. Three straight hits followed Chadick's, with run-producers by Wodtke, Yagi and Wolfe making it 7-0. Wolfe's single drove in two, preceding an RBI fielder's choice by Conlon. The Wildcats capped their crooked sixth when KU shortstop Matt McLaughlin made an errant throw to second in an attempt to force out Brown on a grounder hit by Krause and allowed Conlon to score from third.

Wodtke later capped his three-hit night with an RBI single in the eighth. Pinch-hitter Alex Bee also had an RBI single in the two-run eighth as the junior drove in Moore, who led off the frame with a double -- K-State's only extra-base hit of the night.

Krauth took the loss for KU after the junior left-hander allowed eight runs, seven earned, on eight hits and four walks over 5 1/3 innings.

Freshman Mitch Plassmeyer retired all six batters he faced in the eighth and ninth to preserve the shutout.

K-State and KU will reconvene for the series on Saturday at 2 p.m. K-State has not announced its starting pitcher while the Jayhawks will start right-hander Drew Morovick.


NOTES
K-State has won eight weekend series openers this season, going 8-4 in such contests. Its last win in a weekend road series opener was on March 27 at Oklahoma State.

Tyler Wolfe went 2-for-5 to extend his career-high on-base streak to 17 games. It is the second-longest on-base streak by a Wildcat this season (Shane Conlon, 22 games).

Tyler Moore extended his hitting streak to a personal-best nine games after he went 2-for-5. The junior is hitting .410 (16-for-39) with three doubles, two triples, two home runs and seven RBIs over the nine-game stretch.