Feb. 24, 2013
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – Elon scored two runs in the eighth inning to wipe away a lead Kansas State held throughout the contest as the Phoenix bested the Wildcats 4-3 Sunday in the Caravelle Resort Tournament at TicketReturn.com Field.
K-State fell to 3-3 on the young season, while Elon evened its record at 3-3 prior to an afternoon tilt against Coastal Carolina later Sunday.
Kansas State led 2-0 in the fourth and 3-1 after the top of the seventh, but Elon scored single runs in both of those innings to stay close. Then in the eighth, K-State reliever Gerardo Esquivel (0-1) recorded two quick outs before Elon delivered three-straight singles, including a RBI hit by Ryan Kinsella, to tie the game at 3-3.
Jake Matthys came out of the Wildcat bullpen with runners on first and second to face Joey Tomko, who stroked a 1-2 pitch up the middle for the go-ahead run.
The loss spoiled an outstanding start by Kansas State right-hander Matt Wivinis, who allowed just one run on three hits in six innings with no walks and three strikeouts. The only run scored off the Downers Grove, Ill., product was in the fourth as a leadoff double by Casey Jones came around to score on a pair of fly-ball outs.
Wivinis, who faced the minimum number of batters in four of his six innings, tied his career-high with 70 pitches a week after giving up six runs over four innings against George Mason.
“Matt had a good start. I was really happy for him,” head coach Brad Hill said. “That’s the first time he has gone six innings and you feel like you’re good for the seventh, eighth and ninth. I was especially happy with the way he finished with a couple ground balls. He gave up some balls that were struck pretty well early on, but they found gloves today. Going forward, he’s going to have to make in-game adjustments because he needs to be more of a ground ball guy.”
Elon was paced offensively by Kinsella, who was 2-for-3 with three RBI as he produced a sacrifice fly in the fourth before hitting a solo homer in the seventh inning off freshman left-hander Hayden Nixon.
A RBI groundout by RJ Santigate and a single by Damion Lovato plated a pair of runs in the fourth inning as the Wildcats recorded three of their eight hits in the frame. However, other than a Tanner Witt sacrifice fly in the seventh, the Wildcats did not advance a runner past second base over the final four innings and were retired in order in the eighth and ninth.
“We just weren’t very good today,” Hill said about the K-State hitters. “There wasn’t a lot of focus. Some guys just didn’t have good at-bats, and we gave away a lot of at-bats. I also thought we got really comfortable when we got a lead. We need to add on runs in that situation.”
Elon reliever Andrew McDonald (1-0) picked up the win after tossing 1.1 no-hit innings. Nate Young picked up his second save of the season of the year by striking out two of the three hitters he faced in the ninth.
Lovato and Blair DeBord recorded two hits for Kansas State. Shane Conlon and Ross Kivett each extended their hitting streaks to six games.
Kansas State is scheduled to open its 31-game home schedule next weekend as the Wildcats host Oakland, Friday through Sunday, at Tointon Family Stadium. Season and single-game tickets are available through the K-State Athletics Ticket office online at www.k-statesports.com/tickets, by phone at 1-800-221-CATS or at the ticket office inside Bramlage Coliseum.