K-State Loses Heartbreaker to San Diego, 2-1

SAN DIEGO, Calif. Kansas State had the go-ahead run in scoring position in the top of the ninth with the game tied at one, but a fly-ball out got the Toreros out of the jam and gave them momentum going into bottom half of the inning, as USD received a walk-off hit in the to top the Wildcats, 2-1, Saturday at Cunningham Stadium.

With the loss, Kansas State fell to 4-2 on the year, while San Diego improved to 4-3.

With the game knotted at one, Dane Yelovich singled up the middle with two outs and the moved to second on a failed pickoff attempt by San Diego reliever Scott DeNault. But DeNault forced Adam Muenster to fly out to left field on a full count to send the Toreros bats to the plate with the game tied.

San Diego looked poised to score in the into the bottom half of the inning as Mike Lugo and Kevin Muno led the inning off with a singles against K-State reliever Matt Applegate. Applegate was taken out in favor of Thomas Rooke before Steven Chatwood sacrificed Lugo over to third. Following an intentional walk, Victor Sanchez hit the first ball he saw into left field for the game-winning run.

DeNault (1-0) took the win after throwing three scoreless innings, allowing four hits. Applegate was saddled with his first loss of the year, but was impressive in his third outing of the season as he allowed one run on three hits with one walk and three strikeouts.

K-State starter Ryan Daniel recorded his first quality outing of the season as the junior-college transfer allowed one unearned runs on five hits with two walks and two strikeouts in 5.2 innings of work.

The Wildcats were led at the plate by Jason King, who was 2-for-2 with one double. Freshman Nick Martini, who was 1-for-3, drove in the Cats lone run of the day.

San Diego starter Kyle Blair looked sharp through three innings as he retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced, including six by way of strikeouts. The Wildcats were hitless against the right-hander until King’s one-out double in the sixth.

After scoring seven runs on just two hits in the fifth inning against Nevada on Friday, the Wildcats plated one run in the fourth inning on Saturday without recording a hit. Muenster started off the frame with a walk and moved to second when Carter Jurica was hit by a pitch. Justin Bloxom was next and the Wildcat cleanup hitter laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Muenster and Jurica up 90 feet.

Following an intentional walk to King to load the bases, Martini hit a bouncer to USD first baseman Zach Walters, who misplayed the ball. Blair, who was running over to cover first base, picked up the ball and his only play was to run to first to retire Martini, but that allowed Muenster to score.

USD tied the game with a run in the sixth inning, which was started with a two-out single up the middle by Austin Green. Jose Valerio was next and hit a grounder to Jurica, but the Wildcat shortstop mishandled the ball for an error, which extended the inning. Chris Engell was next and hit a ball through the left side of the infield to plate Green and knock Daniel out of the game.

Kyle Hunter came on in relief in a tough position with runners at first and second with two outs, but the freshman struck out Lugo on a full count to keep the game tied.

The Toreros had opportunities to open the scoring in the second, fourth and fifth innings as they had runners on either second or third in all three frames.

In the bottom of the fourth, the Toreros had runners on second and third with one out after a sacrifice bunt when Walters hit a chopper to Bloxom at first. The junior wisely threw home to catcher Ron Vaughn, who tagged out Sanchez at the plate. Daniel responded by forcing a groundout to end the inning.

The Toreros had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the seventh as Hunter walked Muno to start the inning. Muno was sacrificed over to second base before Hunter gave way Applegate. Applegate proceeded to walk the first man he faced to put runners on first and second with just one out.

USD put on a successful double steal with James Meador at the plate to put the go-ahead run just 90 feet away. But Applegate struck out Meador on a 1-2 pitch to slam the door on San Diego in the inning.

The Wildcats conclude play at the San Diego Tournament with a 1 p.m. (CT) first pitch against San Diego State at Tony Gwynn Stadium.