March 1, 2014
ABILENE, Texas - Jared Moore's first career quality start and a Wildcat offense that reached double-digit hits for the third straight game led the K-State baseball team (4-7) to an 8-3 win over Missouri State (7-3) at Crutcher Scott Field on Saturday. It was the third straight victory for K-State.
Moore threw a career-high seven innings for the Wildcats, allowing three runs while striking out a season-high five in the winning decision. The senior improved to 2-1 in his three starts this season.
"I thought [Moore] had to compete tonight," said K-State head coach Brad Hill. "I didn't think he was that sharp. He lost his changeup early in the game. He became a two-pitch guy and that sometimes is not easy to do, going seven innings with just two pitches. He competed really well."
Ross Kivett, Shane Conlon and Austin Fisher each had three hits, combining for nine of the Wildcats' 11 hits in the game. For Kivett, it was the senior's first three-hit game of the season while it was the second for Conlon and Fisher.
Fisher, meanwhile, fell a triple shy of the cycle. The junior hit a solo home run in the third inning, his first homer of the season and second roundtripper by a Wildcat this season. It was Fisher's first home run since May 11, 2013 against Kansas.
The three-game winning streak for K-State has seen its starting pitchers all establish new career-highs for longest outings. In addition to Moore, Levi MaVorhis threw 7 1/3 innings on Friday while Landon Busch threw his first career complete game on Saturday afternoon.
"Starting pitching has been great," said Hill about the weekend so far. "We kind of challenged them a bit and talked about getting deeper into games for us. They took that challenge and have done a good job."
The K-State offense built an early lead with three two-out runs in the first inning. Conlon collected his first hit of the game, sparking the Wildcat rally after Kivett and Lance Miles recorded outs to start the game. Fisher followed Conlon with a single, and Max Brown walked to load the bases, setting up RJ Santigate's two-run single off a two-strike pitch that made it 2-0 K-State. Brown later scored in the inning on a wild pitch thrown by Missouri State starting pitcher Matt Hall.
"What I like is the fact that we start the first inning, two outs and two strikes, with Conlon," said Hill. "Our guys didn't quit. Two strikes, two outs and nobody on, Conlon gets a base hit, Fisher follows that up and Santigate gets the two big two-out RBI. Our guys just competed all the way through the inning."
After Fisher's blast to right field to leadoff the third inning made it 4-0 K-State, Missouri State cut the Wildcat lead to three runs when Conor Smith drove in Spencer Johnson with a single. Johnson reached base with a leadoff double.
The Bears closed within two in the fourth, but K-State opened up the game with a four-run fifth inning. Conlon and Fisher led off the frame with base hits, including a double by Fisher, before Santigate walked to load the bases for Tanner DeVinny. The freshman designated hitter hit a ground ball to second base, but a throwing error by Missouri State's Eric Cheray in an attempt to force out Santigate at second allowed Conlon to score and keep the bases loaded. Blair DeBord followed with a sacrifice fly to plate Fisher while Clayton Dalrymple and Kivett later added RBI singles to make it 8-2 K-State.
Missouri State added a run in the sixth with an RBI single by Smith.
Jake Fromson and Jake Whaley each recorded a scoreless inning of work out of the K-State bullpen. Fromson allowed a walk and tallied a strikeout in the eighth, and Whaley did the same - a strikeout and walk - in the ninth.
K-State ends its weekend in Abilene, Texas with a 3 pm game against Abilene Christian on Sunday, March 2 at Crutcher Scott Field.