K-State Hangs on for Doubleheader Sweep

MANHATTAN, Kan. Kansas State routed Niagara by double-digits in game one and hung on for a one-run victory in game two as the Wildcats swept Friday’s day-night doubleheader by scores of 12-1 and 9-8, at Tointon Family Stadium.

 

With the pair of wins, K-State improved its record to 8-2, while Niagara fell to 2-7.

 

In game one, the Wildcats started slow as they were held scoreless in the first two innings, but scored single runs in the third and fifth, sandwiched around a three-run fourth. The Cats then plated seven in the sixth inning to run away with a run-rule seven-inning win.

 

K-State scored 12 runs on 14 hits, the fourth time they scored 10 or more runs. K-State recorded multi-hit games from four players, while three Wildcats tallied multiple RBI. K-State also registered nine stolen bases, just one shy of tying the single-game school record.

 

The Wildcats were led at the plate in the first game by freshman Nick Martini, who went 3-for-3 with one RBI and extended his season-opening hitting streak to nine games. The hit streak, which ended in game two, was the longest to start a season since Jared Goedert tallied hits in the first 10 games of 2005.

 

Dane Yelovich, Adam Muenster and Rob Vaughn each tallied two hits in the afternoon game, while Drew Biery and Vaughn recorded three RBI.

 

Senior pitcher Lance Hoge was efficient for the third time in as many starts as he improved his record to 3-0 after allowing one run on four hits with no walks and three strikeouts.

 

Niagara came out swinging in game two as it scored two runs in the first frame, but K-State came back with runs in the first, second, fourth and fifth to build a comfortable 7-2 lead. The Purple Eagles came back with three runs in the sixth and eighth innings to get within one, before K-State freshman reliever James Allen shut the door on Niagara to preserve the win.

 

Game-two starter Ryan Daniel picked up his first-career win after allowing four runs on five hits with two walks and one strikeout. Allen was solid in his 1.2 innings, allowing just one hit and striking out two batters in the ninth inning for his first career save.

 

The Wildcats were led at the plate in game two by Carter Jurica, who went 3-for-4 with one run. Biery was 2-for-3 with one RBI and two runs scored, while Daniel Dellasega drove in two runs.

 

Kansas State plated its first run of the afternoon game in the third inning when Yelovich reached on a bunt single and moved to third on a sacrifice and a stolen base. Jurica was next and recorded a RBI groundout to make the score 1-0.

 

Niagara came back in the fourth when Jason Cramer hit a solo-home run over the left field wall to plate the Purple Eagles’ first run of the game. But, as quickly as Niagara tied the game, K-State came back with three runs in the bottom half of the inning. Jason King started the frame with a lead-off home run. Following a pop out, Martini hammered a ball into right field for his first-career triple and then scored on a Vaughn single. Jordan Cruz and Yelovich followed with singles to bring in the third Cat run of the frame and make the score 4-1.

 

The Wildcats grabbed another run in the fifth when Martini, on the 10th pitch of his at-bat, hit a double off the left-field wall to bring home Justin Bloxom.

 

K-State’s bats then exploded in the sixth inning as the Wildcats scored seven runs to put the game away. Cruz led off the inning with a walk and then stole both second and third. He was then driven home on a Muenster single. Muenster stole second before Jurica walked and the two swiped the second and third bags of the inning. Bloxom was the next man to walk before King reached on an error, which scored Muenster to make the score 7-1.

 

Biery was next and blasted a double into right center field, which cleared the bases and pushed the K-State lead to 10-1. Martini then walked and stole second base the Wildcats’ ninth steal of the game before Vaughn plated both runs on a single for the final 12-1 tally.

 

In game two, Niagara came out firing as it plated a pair of runs in the first inning on a single by Cramer to give the Purple Eagles an early 2-0 lead.

 

However, Kansas State came right back to score three in the bottom half. David Masters recorded a one-out walk and then scored from first on a Jurica double to plate one. Following a pop out for the second out of the inning, King singled to score Jurica before Biery doubled to give K-State a 3-2 lead.

 

K-State added to its lead with single runs in the second and fourth innings, when Cruz scored on a wild pitch in the second, while Yelovich scored on a groundout by Bloxom to push the K-State advantage to 5-2.

 

The Wildcats then came back with two runs in the fifth inning when Biery and Martini started the frame with a single and a walk and then moved up 90 feet on a passed ball. Dellasega was next and singled through the left side to score both runs and make the score 7-2.

 

Niagara came right back to score three runs in the top of the sixth on five consecutive one-out hits, the last two by Wynton Bernard and Brian Deering, which brought in two runs and loaded the bases. Following a strikeout, Matt Wietlispach walked to bring in another run and make the score 7-4.

 

After a scoreless sixth, the Wildcats came back with two in the seventh on back-to-back walks to begin the inning, before Cruz reached on an error and Yelovich recorded another bunt single make the score 9-5.

 

But Niagara wouldn’t go away as it plated three unearned runs in the top of the eighth to get within one. Matt Lucchesi started off the inning by reaching third base on an error by Cruz. Lucchesi then scored on an infield single by Bernard, who stole second and then moved to third on a wild pitch on a strikeout by Deering, to put runners on first and third.

 

K-State reliever Evan Marshall then attempted to pickoff Deering, but his throw to first was high, which allowed Bernard to score. Niagara pitch-hitter Timothy Cozier followed with a ground out, which moved Deering to third. Deering then scored on a single by Wietlispach to bring the Purple Eagles within one.

 

Kansas State and Niagara continue its four-game series with a 2 p.m. first pitch Saturday at Tointon Family Stadium.