K-State Handles Creighton, 12-1

MANHATTAN, Kan. Kansas State scored double-digit runs for the third time in the young season as the Wildcats routed Creighton, 12-1, in their home-opener Tuesday afternoon at Tointon Family Stadium. With the win, Kansas State improved to 6-2 on the year, while Creighton fell to 1-7.

The Wildcat offense pounded out 16 hits, including six doubles and three home runs. It was the fifth time this season K-State had at least 10 hits, while it was the most home runs in a game since four against Washington State on March 11 of last season.

Four Wildcats recorded at least two hits, including Justin Bloxom and Jordan Cruz, who each had three hits and three RBI. Drew Biery was 3-for-4 with one run scored, while Adam Muenster and Jason King each tallied a 1-for-4 afternoon with two runs driven in.

For his third-consecutive start, junior starting pitcher A.J. Morris (3-0) went six innings without giving up an earned run. The right-hander allowed just two hits, walked one and tied his career-high in strikeouts with eight, which he initially set in the season-opener at Houston.

Kyle Hunter, Josh Crockett, and Dustin Hobbs pitched one inning each as the three combined to allow one run on three hits.

Creighton starter Jonas Dufek (0-2) took the loss after allowing seven runs on eight hits in three innings of work.

Kansas State started the game’s scoring for the sixth time this season as K-State tallied single runs in the first three innings, all on extra base hits. In the first, Bloxom hit a two-out double to score Carter Jurica from first, while Cruz doubled in the second to plate Nick Martini. Bloxom came back in the third inning to a solo home run over the left center-field wall to make the score 3-0.

Just as he was his first two starts, Morris was untouchable through the first few innings as he retired the first 10 Creighton hitters he faced before a fourth-inning, one-out single up the middle by Vicente Cafaro. Robbie Knight followed with a double to put runners on second and third. Morris then walked Darin Ruf to load the bases, but struck out T.J. Roemmich and forced Nick Becker to ground out and strand all three Bluejay runners.

K-State responded to its pitcher as the offense came out and scored four runs in the bottom half of the inning. Biery led off the inning by reaching second base on an error. Martini was next and pulled a 2-1 pitch into right field to plate Biery. Rob Vaughn followed with another double into right field to bring home Martini and make the score 5-0.

K-State wasn’t done in the fourth as Cruz lifted a ball to the opposite field that went over the left-field wall for a two-run homer to extend the Wildcat lead to 7-0.

After leaving a runner on in the fifth, the Wildcats came back with four runs in the sixth inning. Back-to-back singles by Vaughn and Cruz, and a sacrifice bunt by Dane Yelovich put runners on second and third with one out. Muenster then doubled down the right-field line to plate two more runs.

Following a groundout for the second out of the frame, Bloxom hit K-State’s sixth double of the afternoon to plate Muenster. King followed and blasted a 1-2 pitch over the center-field wall to cap the K-State scoring.

Creighton scored its lone run in the top of the eighth when Cafaro hit a sacrifice fly to score Scott Thornburg.

Kansas State continues its home stand with a four-game series against Niagara, beginning Friday, March 6 at 3 p.m. at Tointon Family Stadium.