Wildcats Blow Past Dukes, 11-4, Sunday

TAMPA, Fla. Five Wildcats recorded multiple hits and pitcher Justin Murray struck out a career-high seven batters as Kansas State completed a 4-0 weekend with an 11-4 win over James Madison on a windy Sunday at the Yankee Player Development Complex.


The Wildcats moved to 7-1 on the year, while the Dukes dropped to 1-3 after the weekend. Seton Hall finished the weekend tournament with a 2-2 mark, while Ohio State also was 1-3.


Byron Wiley led the 16-hit attack on Sunday with two homers and three RBI, while Adam Munster and Jordan Cruz also each recorded three hits. Drew Biery and Wiley each drove in three runs on the afternoon, while Muenster and Cruz had two RBI each.


Murray (1-1) had a solid outing on a day that truly favored the hitters, finishing with a career-best seven strikeouts while yielding four runs on nine hits over 6.2 innings. K-State’s bullpen continued to be stellar as freshmen A.J. Morris and Tyler Ruch combined for the final 2.1 shutout innings. In fact, K-State’s bullpen went 10.1 innings over the weekend without yielding a single run with 12 strikeouts.


The Wildcats came out swinging in the top of the first as Adam Muenster led off with a triple and then scored on Jordan Cruz’s single to left. Cruz then stole second and scored all the way from second on a deep fly to center off the bat of Drew Biery. Then, with two outs, J.J. Muse legged out an infield single and scored on Justin Bloxom’s first career hit, a triple to the gap in right center as the Cats took the early 3-0 lead.


After James Madison got on the board with a solo homer in the bottom half of the first, the Cats got the run back in the second as Eli Rumler doubled and scored on Cruz’s second hit of the game, a two-out knock to right.


Byron Wiley blasted his first homer of the season in the third, a solo shot to right, to give the Cats a 5-2 advantage. The Dukes had pushed across a run in the second on a sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 4-2 before Wiley answered.


With the Cats up 6-3 in the seventh, James Madison threatened as two straight two-out hits off Murray cut the margin to 6-4. A.J. Morris then relieved Murray and got a groundout to end the frame with a runner at third.


K-State then added three runs in the top of eighth on another Biery sacrifice fly and a towering two-run homer from Wiley, his second of the day, to up the lead to 9-4. Muenster’s two run single in the ninth capped the scoring to give K-State an 11-4 advantage.


The Wildcats placed four players on the All-Tournament squad as starting pitcher Brad Hutt, reliever Daniel Edwards, shortstop Eli Rumler and outfielder Byron Wiley were honored after the weekend.


Kansas State returns to action Friday as it travels to Beaumont, Texas, to face St. John’s, UC-Santa Barbara and host Lamar at Vincent Beck Stadium. First pitch on Friday against St. John’s is set for 1 p.m.