Kansas State Upends No. 4 Arizona State, 6-2

SURPRISE, Ariz. Kansas State sophomore infielder Jason King went 3-for-3 and capped a big eighth inning with a three-run homer, while starting pitcher A.J. Morris had his fourth-straight quality outing, as the Wildcats topped fourth-ranked Arizona State, 6-2, Tuesday night at Surprise Stadium. With the victory, Kansas State improved to 11-2, while ASU fell to 11-2.

 

King had possibly his best game as a Wildcat as he recorded five of the six Wildcat RBI to tie his career high. He tallied at least one RBI in three of his four plate appearances and hit his sixth double and team-best fifth home run of the year against Sun Devil pitching.

 

Morris threw a career-best 8.1 innings and was bidding for a complete game before he allowed a pair of one-out base runners in the ninth. Morris gave way to Thomas Rooke for the second out of the inning, while James Allen recorded his second save of the season when he forced a pop fly for the final out.

 

Morris recorded his fourth win of the season in as many starts, matching his total for victories for last season. The junior did not allow a hit in six of the eight full innings he pitched, while he faced the minimum number of batters three times. The Humble, Texas, product allowed two runs on five hits and was able to work around five walks while adding two strikeouts.

 

Arizona native Justin Bloxom finished the game 3-for-3 with two runs scored, while freshman Nick Martini was 2-for-4 with one RBI and one run scored.

 

For the 10th time this season, including its sixth-straight game, the Kansas State offense tallied double-digit hits with 11. The six runs and 11 hits by K-State were the most that the Arizona State pitching staff which came into the game with a 1.01 team ERA had given up this season.

 

The Wildcats, who scored two runs on seven hits in the first seven innings, backed Morris' sterling outing when they dropped four runs on four hits in the eighth inning to take a commanding five-run lead. Carter Jurica led off the frame with a double into left field, which was followed by a Martini single to left to bring home a much-needed insurance run and put the Cats up 3-1.

 

K-State wasn’t done as Bloxom followed with a walk to bring up King, who was already 2-for-2 with two RBI. The Dublin, Ohio, product battled his way to a 2-2 count before he blasted a ball over the left-field wall into the K-State bullpen to put the game away.

 

Kole Calhoun led the Sun Devils at the plate with a 2-for-4 night, while Jason Kipnis and Carlos Ramirez each had one RBI.

 

Kansas State was first on the scoreboard for the ninth time this season as the Cats scored an unearned run in the first. Jurica reached on a one-out error before back-to-back singles loaded the bases. King then recorded his first RBI when he lifted a ball into center field for a sacrifice fly, which scored Jurica from third.

 

Morris saw his season-opening scoreless inning streak come to an end at 19.2 when Ramirez homered over the center-field wall with two outs in the second inning to tie the game at 1-1.

 

Following a scoreless third inning, the Wildcats took back the lead in the fourth on some power hitting. Bloxom led off with a double off the left center-field wall. King followed by pounding a ball off the wall in deep center field to plate Bloxom and put the Wildcats up 2-1.

 

The Sun Devils threatened to take back the lead in the bottom half of the fourth as Morris allowed consecutive one-out walks. Andy Workman hit a fielder’s choice, which put runners on first and third and brought Ramirez to the plate. He blasted a pitch to deep center field, but Dane Yelovich caught the ball at the wall to end the inning.

 

ASU had two on with just one out again in the sixth as the Devils attempted to take the lead. But Morris struck out Ramirez and forced Calhoun into a groundout to keep K-State in the lead.

 

Arizona State scored one run in the bottom of the ninth when Kipnis delivered a two-out single into center field to score Calhoun.

 

Kansas State will conclude its two-game series against the Sun Devils on Wednesday at Surprise Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for approximately 45 minutes following the conclusion of the Major League exhibition game between the Kansas City Royals and Seattle Mariners, which begins at 3:05 p.m. (CT).