Wildcats Battle to 5-4 Victory

MANHATTAN, Kan. UTSA scored three runs in the fourth inning to take the lead, but Kansas State battled back to score four runs over the next three frames and held off a late-inning charge as the Wildcats defeated UTSA, 5-4, Tuesday evening at Tointon Family Stadium. Kansas State improved to 16-3 with the victory, while the Roadrunners fell to 10-7.


The game was highlighted by the power of both teams with five home runs hit in the contest, including three by K-State. The three round-trippers by Kansas State improved its season total to 21, including 11 in the last five games.


K-State was led at the plate by Drew Biery, Carter Jurica and Justin Bloxom, who each had two hits. The three also combined to tally all five Wildcat RBI on the night.


Freshman Matt Applegate (1-1) picked up his first career win as the first of three relief pitchers used by the Wildcats in support of starter Kyle Hunter.  Applegate, a right-hander, threw 1.2 scoreless innings, allowing three hits. Thomas Rooke followed Applegate and was solid in his second-consecutive outing as he recorded his first hold of the season by allowing a run on two hits with four strikeouts in 2.1 innings of work.


Freshman James Allen earned his third save of the year after mowing down the Roadrunners in order in the ninth to preserve the win.


UTSA starting pitcher Casey Selsor (3-1) suffered the loss in his first start of the season after surrendering four runs on seven hits in 4.1 innings.


For the 13th time in 19 games, Kansas State plated the first run of the game when Jurica pounded a one-out, solo home run over the left center-field wall in the bottom of the first inning.


But following two scoreless innings, UTSA jumped on the board with three runs in the fourth to take the lead when Jose Hernandez hit a leadoff double off the left-field wall and then scored on an Aaron Powell single to tie the game. Ryan Rummell homered over the center-field wall to put the Roadrunners out in front 3-1.


The Wildcats came back in the bottom half of the inning when Bloxom and Jason King reached on back-to-back one-out singles. However, King was thrown out at second when he tried to advance to second on the throw that came into third base. Biery stepped in with K-State in need of a two-out RBI and delivered as he hammered a 2-0 pitch over the left-field wall to tie the game at three apiece.


After UTSA stranded a runner on third base in the top of the fifth, the Wildcats scored the go-ahead run in the bottom half. Jordan Cruz led off with a single up the middle and moved to third base on a sacrifice bunt and a stolen base, his seventh of the year. Jurica followed with a fly ball into center field, which was deep enough to score Cruz.


UTSA looked to take the lead back in the sixth inning when consecutive two-out singles put Roadrunners on first and second and knocked Applegate out of the game. Rooke entered the game and forced a ground ball to potentially end the inning, but Biery bobbled the ball for an error to load the bases for Marshal Davis, who had singled in his previous two at-bats. Rooke forced Davis to pop up on the first pitch to end the threat.


Bloxom led the bottom half of the inning with his fourth home run of the season before UTSA’s Michael Rockett pulled the Roadrunners to within one on a leadoff homer in the seventh. The home run proved to be the last UTSA hit of the night as Rooke retired the next six batters before giving way to Allen.


The Wildcats conclude their two-game midweek series against UTSA on Wednesday with a 12 p.m., first pitch at Tointon Family Stadium.