K-State Falls to Arizona State, 6-2, Wednesday

TEMPE, Ariz. Kansas State got a masterful outing from starting pitcher A.J. Morris, but a four-run sixth inning by Arizona State proved to be the difference as the 18th-ranked Sun Devils knocked off the Wildcats, 6-2, Wednesday night at Packard Stadium.


With the loss, Kansas State dropped to 14-4 on the season, while Arizona State improved to 15-7.


Morris, a redshirt freshman, earned his first career start Wednesday and did not disappoint as he went 5.0 strong innings and scattered one run on three hits with three strikeouts.


Arizona State, who ran out its top two pitchers against the Cats, got a complete-game effort from Brian Flores (3-0) who surrendered seven hits while walking four and striking out eight on the night.


K-State got things going in the first as Adam Muenster walked and promptly stole second. Jordan Cruz followed with a lined shot that glanced off a diving third baseman for a hit. After an Eli Rumler fly out moved Muenster to third, Byron Wiley grounded into a double play to end the inning.


The Cats broke through for the game’s first run in the fourth when Rumler doubled with one out and moved to third on an error by the Sun Devil right fielder. Wiley then drove in Rumler with an RBI ground out to give K-State a 1-0 lead. But, the Sun Devils answered as an Ike Davis sacrifice fly in the bottom half of the fourth tied the game at one.


In the sixth, K-State had an opportunity to take the lead as Rumler reached on an error and moved to second. Then, Wiley singled to right with one out, but Rumler was thrown out at the plate trying to score. Pinch hitter Drew Biery then struck out, leaving Wiley at second.


Arizona State took a 5-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth in a bizarre inning. After the Sun Devils took a 2-1 lead on an RBI single, Kiel Roling hit a ball over the wall in left that was initially called fair by the home plate umpire, but was eventually overruled when the crew got together and made a decision. But, two pitches later, Roling lifted an opposite field blast to right, driving in three for a 5-1 ASU lead.


All four runs in the inning were charged to Jason Linn (1-1) who lost his first decision of the season. The redshirt freshman gave up four runs on three hits with one strikeout in his full inning of work.


K-State got to within 5-2 in the eighth as Derek Bunker tripled to right center, plating Jordan Cruz, who led the inning off with a double to left, but ASU added another in the bottom half to round out the scoring.


Cruz and Link led the offense with two hits each, while Wiley and Bunker drove in the Cats’ two runs.


Kansas State again has a quick turnaround as it hosts Central Michigan this weekend at Tointon Stadium for a three-game series. First pitch on Friday is set for 3 p.m., while Saturday’s contest will begin at 2 p.m. Sunday’s finale has been moved up and will start at 11 a.m.