K-State Swings Its Way to Season-Opening Win

HOUSTON, Texas Kansas State junior pitcher A.J. Morris struck out a career-high eight batters and the Wildcats pounded out 16 runs on 19 hits as they opened the 2009 season with a 16-2 win over Houston Friday night at Cougar Field.


Morris picked up the win after six solid innings as he allowed just one earned run on six hits, while walking two to go along with his eight strikeouts. Morris, who also tied his career high in innings pitched, topped the six-strikeout performance he had against Wichita State last season.


Thomas Rooke and James Allen followed Morris with three no-hit innings to close out the game.


The Wildcat offense did not disappoint as they tallied 19 hits on six different Houston pitchers. Six K-State batters tallied at least two hits, while four recorded multi-RBI games. It was the most runs by the Wildcats in a game since plating 20 against Chicago State in 2007 and the most runs in a season opener since scoring 21 against Doane in 2002.


K-State was led at the plate by Justin Bloxom, who went 4-for-5 with three singles and a home run, and drove in three runs. Jason King tallied a 2-for-6 night, but led the Wildcats with four RBI, including a three-run homer in the seventh. Rob Vaughn was 3-for-4, while Dan Rumsey and Carter Jurica each drove in two runs.


Houston scored the first two runs of the game on a pair of errors by the Wildcats in the third inning. Morris retired the first batter on one pitch, but an error by Jurica, a hit by Houston’s Brett Wallace and an error by King at third base on the front end of an attempted double play scored one run. Ty Stucky followed with with an RBI single to put the Cougars up 2-0.


The Wildcats answered Houston’s two runs with three of their own by taking advantage of their speed on the base paths. With one out, Drew Biery hit a single through the left side before freshman Nick Martini bounced a double off the left center field wall to score Biery from first for the Wildcats first run of the game.


Vaughn followed with a single to give K-State runners at first and third. With Daniel Dellasega at the plate, Vaughn stole second base, coaxing a throw by Wallace to his shortstop Blake Kelso. Martini took off on the throw and Kelso’s throw back to Wallace was too late and Cats tied the game at two.


On the next pitch, Vaughn stole third base before Dellasega struck out. Dane Yelovich, who was 2-for-5 on the night, was then hit by the first pitch he saw and took off for second base with Jordan Cruz at the plate. The first-and-third strategy worked again as Vaughn scored before Yelovich was tagged out between first and second to end the inning.


Kansas State was at it again in the fifth inning as it extended its lead to three with two two-out runs. Bloxom hit a single up the middle before King hit a double into deep right center field to allow Bloxom to score from first. Biery was next and laced a single to left field to plate King and make the score 5-2.


The Wildcats put the game away with another three runs in the seventh with King’s three-run homer off the score board in right center field.


Kansas State scored six more in the ninth on a two-RBI double by Rumsey, a wild pitch, a RBI single by Jurica and a two-run homer over the left field wall by Bloxom.


Houston was led by Taylor White who went 2-for-4, while Stucky recorded the lone RBI of the night for the Cougars.


The second game of the opening weekend between the Wildcats and Cougars is scheduled for a 2 p.m. first pitch at Cougar Field.