Feb. 16, 2013
CHARLESTON, S.C. – Kansas State dug itself an early seven-run hole against The Citadel and battled back to have the tying run in scoring position in the top of the ninth, but a strikeout ended the game as the Bulldogs held off the Wildcats, 10-8, Saturday afternoon in The Citadel Memorial Challenge at Riley Park.
With the loss, K-State fell to 1-1 on the young season, while The Citadel improved to 2-0.
Following a Citadel solo homer in the first inning, Kansas State starting pitcher Joe Flattery spotted the Bulldogs six runs in the third, thanks in part to two errors early in the frame. Those defensive miscues put pressure on Flattery, who surrendered a pair of big hits in the form of a two-run single by catcher Joe Jackson and a three-run homer off the bat of first baseman Bo Thompson to give The Citadel a 7-1 advantage.
The Bulldogs also scored single runs in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings, but K-State fought back with two in the fifth and three in the sixth to get within four at 10-6 entering the ninth inning. RJ Santigate, who went 4-for-5 in the contest, recorded a two-run double down the left-field line off Bulldog reliever Skylar Hunter to pull the Wildcats to within two.
With a walk and a double steel putting runners in scoring position with two outs, Hunter worked to a 1-2 count against Tanner Witt before throwing an elevated fastball that the Wildcat left fielder could not catch up to, ending the game.
“I liked the way we battled back, but the six-run inning can’t happen,” head coach Brad Hill said. “That’s what happened to us last year – we quit competing on the mound. It was going to be a game. When you quit competing on the mound, it’s going to be an uphill battle. I give our offense some credit for coming back and our younger pitchers some credit for keeping it close. We had a chance, but I’m definitely not happy with the loss.”
Citadel starting pitcher James Reeves was the benefit of the six-run inning as he earned the win, allowing three runs on six hits with no walks and four strikeouts in five innings of work. Tyler Griffin, who hit the solo homer in the first, ended the day with three hits, along with Hughston Armstrong.
A pair of Wildcat freshmen pitchers shined in their collegiate debuts as left-hander Landon Busch worked 1.1 scoreless innings with a pair of strikeouts, while Blake McFadden tossed a scoreless eighth inning.
The Wildcats were led offensively by Santigate’s four-hit day, while the junior also drove in a pair of runs. A day after the top four hitters in K-State’s lineup tallied multi-hit games against High Point, three of the top four hitters in Shane Conlon, Jared King and Ross Kivett each recorded two hits Saturday. Conlon doubled and tripled in the contest, while King led the Wildcats with three RBI.
K-State scored its two runs in the fifth inning off Reeves on Conlon’s triple and a sacrifice fly by King. The Wildcats came back with three more runs off Bulldog reliever Brett Tompkins in the sixth on an error and RBI singles by Joe Goodwin and King.
The Wildcats conclude play in The Citadel Memorial Challenge with a 9 a.m. (CT) contest Sunday against George Mason. Kansas State is expected to start sophomore right-hander Matt Wivinis, while the Patriots will counter with junior left-hander Ryan Kalish. Sunday’s game can be heard in the Manhattan area on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN as well as online at both www.k-statesports.com and www.1350kman.com.