March 6, 2011
Game One Box | Game Two Box | Photo Gallery
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State slugged its way to a win in game one and earned a hard-fought, extra-inning victory in game two as the Wildcats completed a double-header and series sweep of Western Illinois Sunday at Tointon Family Stadium.
The Wildcats dominated the opener by scoring 10 runs in the first three frames, while starting pitcher Justin Lindsey allowed just one run in seven innings as the Cats tallied a 14-7 victory.
In the nightcap, K-State trailed 6-2 after the Leathernecks scored five runs in the fourth inning. But the Cats fought back to tie the game at 6-6 by pushing across two runs in the ninth. K-State closer James Allen (1-0) matched the effort of Western Illinois pitcher Zach Sterling (0-1) through the extra frames until Nick Martini delivered the game-winning hit in the bottom of the 13th to complete the 7-6 come-from-behind victory.
With the twin-bill sweep, the Cats moved to 9-2 on the season, while the Leathernecks fell to 1-10.
Western Illinois’ five-run fourth inning was fueled by pair of multi-run homers from Tom Lilja and Ryan Cowhey. K-State chipped away with two runs in the fifth on consecutive RBI by Jason King and Mike Kindel, cutting the WIU lead to 6-4.
Meanwhile, Wildcat reliever Evan Marshall halted the Leathernecks offense and allowed K-State to stay within striking distance. The junior right-hander tossed 3.2 scoreless innings, allowing three hits and striking out five without issuing a walk.
K-State was down to its final chance in the ninth when leadoff batter Jake Brown reached on an error. After a wild pitch advanced Brown to second, he scored on a single by Jared King. He scored from first base two batters later when brother, Jason, hammered a two-out double over the outstretched glove of WIU center fielder Anthony Kaskadden to tie the game.
Allen continued the Cats' bullpen mastery following Marshall by tossing five no-hit innings from the ninth through the 13th. The junior struck out 10 of the 15 batters he faced, the most by a Wildcat since A.J. Morris also had 10 at Baylor in 2009. It was also the most strikeouts by a K-State reliever since at least the 1999 season.
K-State had chances to end the game in each of the extra frames as the Wildcats stranded runners in scoring position, including one on third base in the 12th.
Tanner Witt led off the bottom of the 13th with a sharp single into right-center field and moved to second on a sacrifice by Jared King. Martini then pulled a 0-1 pitch through the right side of the infield for a base hit. Western Illinois right fielder Dan Dispensa made a strong throw to the plate, but Witt beat the tag of catcher Jake Moore to give K-State the victory.
“More than anything else, it was Evan Marshall and James Allen throwing up a lot of zeros that gave us the chance to come back,” head coach Brad Hill said. “Offensively, I thought we showed a lot of toughness late in the game. We had some balls we hit really well, we just couldn’t get one over their head or we hit it right at them.
“It was an emotional game,” Hill continued. “We had two opportunities where we thought we were going to win it and it didn’t happen. James went back out and showed great composure while we continued offensively until we got it done.”
Wildcat catcher Chase Graskewicz tied his career high with three hits in the second game, while Martini, Jason King and Kent Urban had two hits apiece.
Kansas State registered 16 strikeouts in game two, the most since it had 17 against Doane in 2002. The 13-inning contest was the longest in terms of innings played since a 20-inning game against Texas in 2004.
In the opening game, Lindsey (2-0) worked seven solid innings, allowing a run on four hits with two walks and three strikeouts. The junior right-hander surrendered just two hits in five scoreless innings while Kansas State pounded out a season-high 15 hits.
The Wildcats sent 13 men to the plate in the third inning and tallied nine runs to put the game out of reach. Jared King and Martini drove in the first two runs on singles before an error brought in a third run and knocked WIU starter Chris Fuchs (0-2) out of the game.
K-State jumped on Leatherneck reliever Philip Tolman as Urban smashed a sacrifice fly to center before designated hitter Mitch Meyer stroked a hard-hit single up the middle to bring in two more and make the score 7-0. The Cats had another two-run single by Witt before Jared King had a run-scoring hit to put Kansas State up by 10.
The Wildcats scored twice in the fifth on a single by Martini and two more in the eighth on RBI hits from Kindel and Urban.
Western Illinois plated six runs over the final two innings, but K-State’s double-digit run lead was too much to overcome.
Witt, Jared King, Martini and Kindel each recorded two hits in the first game. Martini registered a team-high three RBI, while Witt, Jared King, Kindel, Urban and Meyer had two RBI apiece.
Kansas State returns to action next weekend as the Wildcats begin a four-game series against Long Island on Friday at Tointon Family Stadium.
Season and single-game tickets remain on sale for the 2011 season through the K-State Athletics Ticket office. Fans can purchase tickets at the stadium box office, online at www.k-statesports.com/tickets, by phone at (800) 221-CATS or at the main ticket office inside Bramlage Coliseum.