Feb. 25, 2012
SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Kansas State exploded for 15 runs on 21 hits, including eight runs in the third inning, and starting pitcher Joe Flattery held San Diego State scoreless for the first five innings as the Wildcats earned a 15-7 victory Saturday afternoon at Tony Gwynn Stadium.
K-State evened its record at 3-3 and will look to finish off its seven-game season-opening road trip with a winning mark on Sunday. The Aztecs fell to 2-5 with the loss.
K-State’s 15 runs were the most by the Wildcats since a season-high 16 against Northern Colorado last season, while their 21 hits were the most in nearly two years when K-State also had 21 base hits against Western Michigan on March 2, 2010.
Additionally, the Wildcats pounded out seven doubles in the game, the most in nearly three years when they also had seven against Niagara on March 8, 2009.
Kansas State continued its domination of the Aztecs on Saturday. Combined with Thursday’s 7-2 victory over SDSU, the Wildcats tallied 21 runs on 31 hits with nine doubles.
The Wildcats, who took a 1-0 lead in the third, saw their first four batters reach base in the inning, including consecutive RBI base hits by Wade Hinkle and Blair DeBord. With two outs, K-State was aggressive as Dan Klein singled to score a run and Tanner Witt walked. Ross Kivett singled home two more runs to make the score 6-0 and knock SDSU starter TJ Kendzora (0-1) out of the game.
Senior Jake Brown greeted reliever Mitch Bluman with a two-run double down the left-field line, then Jared King attacked the same line to double home Brown and give K-State a 9-0 lead. The Wildcats tallied six two-out RBI in the inning and totaled nine for the contest.
“You couldn’t draw it up any better than that,” head coach Brad Hill said. “We hit a ton of singles. The selfishness wasn’t there today. We just did what we had to do to score runs. It was a good offensive approach. I hope the kids saw that and can learn from it. You can have a big offensive day when no one tries to do too much. No one tried to hit home runs. We just had a lot of singles. Then, a few singles turned into a few doubles. That’s the way we want to play offense.”
King led all hitters with a career-high tying four hits and one RBI. Brown, DeBord and Klein also tied their career highs with three hits, while six Wildcats – Kivett, Brown, Hinkle, DeBord, Klein and Witt – recorded two RBI apiece.
Flattery (1-1) earned the win as he bounced back from a loss in his first start of the season. The left-hander shut out the Aztecs through the first five innings until allowing five runs (three earned) in the sixth. The Fort Dodge, Iowa, native lasted 5.1 innings – two full innings more than his first career start – and gave up six hits.
“His biggest inning was the zero in the third,” Hill said of Flattery. “That kept all the momentum on our side and made it a lot easier for him to pitch. We would have liked to get him through six complete, but it didn’t quite happen. It was a real good go for him and hopefully a confidence booster. He’s got really good stuff. I hope he keeps growing because he has a good chance of being a good one for us.”
K-State’s run in the first inning came on a Witt RBI single, and the junior also drove in the second of two Wildcat runs in the fourth on the back end of the consecutive RBI doubles. Two more Wildcat runs came across in the fifth inning on a Hinkle RBI single and a DeBord sacrifice fly, while freshman Austin Fisher registered his first K-State RBI on a single in the ninth.
Kansas State concludes play at the San Diego Tournament with a 1 p.m. (CT), contest against No. 19 Oregon State on Sunday at Tony Gwynn Stadium. The game can be heard in the Manhattan area on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN, while free live audio is available at www.k-statesports.com and www.1350kman.com.