Feb. 20, 2011
STOCKTON, Calif. -- Kansas State scored five times in the seventh inning to wipe away a 6-2 deficit and received a dominating pitching performance from Kayvon Bahramzadeh out of the bullpen to earn a come-from-behind 7-6 victory over Pacific Sunday afternoon at Klein Family Field.
With the win, K-State clinched its first three-game road sweep to open a season since 1959 and just the second in school history. It also marked the Cats' first 3-0 start to a season since 2007.
K-State's seventh-inning outburst was jump-started by Wade Hinkle, who was hit by a 1-2 pitch from reliever Jared Wagner, who had just entered the game. Mike Kindel doubled before the Cats had consecutive RBI plate appearances from Kent Urban and Chase Graskewicz.
Following a fielder's choice, Tanner Witt fouled off three-straight pitches from Wagner on a 1-2 count before slicing a single to right field to score Jake Brown from second and make the score 6-5.
Pacific brought in closer Robbie Richardson (0-1), who focused his attention on Witt while trying to keep the tying run at first base with two outs. But freshman Jared King hammered a triple that one-hopped the wall in straight-away center field to tie the game at 6-6.
Nick Martini, the reigning Big 12 Player of the Year, then lazered a single into right field to complete the comeback.
"Pacific made some big-time plays early in the game," said head coach Brad Hill, whose squad trailed 5-0 after three innings. "I thought we showed great composure and toughness. It was just a great team effort from the bullpen picking up (starting pitcher) Levi (Schlick) and the team as a whole staying in there to battle like we did."
Bahramzadeh (1-0), who entered the game in the fourth inning, retired nine of the first 15 batters he faced. The only blemish on his performance was a leadoff homer by Allen Riley in the sixth that gave the Tigers a 6-2 advantage.
Pacific threatened in the eighth when Daniel Johnston singled, stole second and moved to third on a passed ball. Following a walk, K-State summoned Jake Doller from the bullpen with two outs and the tying run 90 feet away. The sophomore right-hander struck out Josh Simms to get out of the jam before James Allen worked around a leadoff single in the ninth for his second save of the series.
Bahramzadeh, who picked up his first win of the season and his first career victory as a relief pitcher, allowed just one run on two hits with two walks and three strikeouts. The junior right-hander was untouchable over the middle innings as he retired the side in order in three of his four complete frames.
"That was exactly what we needed to happen today," Hill said of Bahramzadeh. "If you're going to get down five early, you have to have some zeros up on the scoreboard to give your team a chance. If they continue to extend it out one or two more, it really deflates the team and it's much harder to come back from. For Kayvon to only give up one run on one swing of the bat the rest of the way, he was really the MVP today because he gave us the chance to come back."
K-State was led offensively by Martini and Kindel as the duo combined to go 7-for-10 with two doubles, two triples and three RBI. Of Martini's four hits, three were singles, including the game-winner in the seventh and a second-inning triple. Kindel doubled in both the second and seventh innings and also had a two-run triple in the fifth.
Pacific jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, highlighed by a Matt Carvutto two-run double. The Tigers extended their lead to five in the third with a two-run inside-the-park home run from Johnston.
The Cats began to chip away in the fifth when Kindel's two-run triple made the score 5-2 before Bahramzadeh shut down the Tigers and the K-State bats came to life in the seventh.
Pacific was led offensively by Johnston, who went 3-for-4 with two RBI, while Carvutto and Riley also drove in a pair of runs.
The Wildcats will be back in action on Thursday, February 24, as they begin play in the Baseball at the Beach tournament in Myrtle Beach, S.C., against host school Coastal Carolina. First pitch against the Chanticleers on Thursday is set for 3 p.m. (CT) at BB&T Coastal Field.