Cats Hang on For 7-4 Win

SAN DIEGO, Calif. Kansas State combined to score seven runs in the second and third innings and held off a ninth-inning rally by Pacific as the Wildcats defeated the Tigers, 7-4, Thursday afternoon at Cunningham Stadium. With the win, K-State improved to 3-1, while Pacific dropped to 1-3.

With Kansas State up 7-1 going into the top of the ninth, Pacific received two singles and a fielder’s choice off of K-State freshman reliever James Allen, which was followed by a two-RBI double by Jamie Niley to make the score 7-3.

Allen then forced a groundout and gave way to Thomas Rooke, but a two-out error by Carter Jurica plated another run for the Tigers and brought the tying run to the plate. However, Rooke struck out Mike Walker on a 2-2 pitch to preserve the win for K-State.

For the second-straight outing, junior right-hander A.J. Morris gave Kansas State six strong innings to pick up his second win of the season. The Humble, Texas, product allowed one unearned run on four hits, while walking three and striking out seven in 102 pitches.

Kansas State recorded double-digit hits for the fourth-straight game as the Wildcats recorded 13 hits, seven of which came in the second and third frames. Jurica led K-State offensively as he went 3-for-4 with one RBI, while Justin Bloxom, Jason King and Nick Martini each recorded two hits.

Seniors Jordan Cruz and Rob Vaughn led K-State with two and three RBI, respectively.

Pacific’s starting pitcher Larry Holscher (0-1) took the loss as he went just 2.0 innings, allowing five runs on six hits.

K-State freshmen relievers Kyle Hunter and Matt Applegate also recorded strong outings as the pair combined to throw two scoreless innings.

Kansas State started the game’s scoring with its three-run second inning. Following consecutive singles to right field by King and Martini, Cruz laid down a sacrifice bunt to the right side of the infield, which scored King and moved Martini to second. Vaughn was next and blasted the first pitch he saw over the center field wall for his first home run of the season and to give K-State the 3-0 advantage.

The Wildcats picked up where they left off in the third inning to extend the lead seven. Adam Muenster led off the frame with an infield single and then stole second base. Jurica was next and hit a 3-1 pitch back through the box to score Muenster and knock Holscher out of the game.

Jurica then stole second base before moving to third on a Bloxom single to left. King followed with a double to left field to score Jurica and move Bloxom to third. Following a strikeout, Cruz broke out of his early-season hitting slump with a single over the shortstop’s head to clear the bases.

Morris ran into trouble in the top of the fourth as he walked the first man he faced before giving up his first hit of the game, a single to center field by Nick Longmore. Morris followed that with another walk to load the bases, but forced a groundout to end the threat and keep Pacific scoreless.

The Tigers came back in the fifth inning to plate a two-out run. Joey Centanni reached on an error by Bloxom. Centanni then stole second base and was driven home on a single up the middle by Brian Martini to plate Pacific’s first run of the game.

Offensively, Pacific was led by Longmore, who went 3-for-5, while Niley paced the Tigers with two RBI.

Kansas State continues action at the San Diego Tournament on Friday with a 12 p.m. (CT) first pitch against Nevada at Cunningham Stadium.