March 14, 2012
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Kansas State used six pitchers to limit Minnesota to four runs and the Wildcats received a towering two-run homer from Jared King as the Wildcats topped the Gophers, 8-4, Wednesday afternoon at the Metrodome.
Kansas State, which moved to 11-6 on the season, is now riding a season-long six game winning streak entering Big 12 play this weekend. The Wildcats also earned their first-ever sweep of Minnesota, while it is the second-straight sweep by K-State after winning all four games against Hartford. Minnesota fell to 7-10 on the season with the loss.
On a staff day for the Wildcat pitchers, K-State surrendered single runs in the second, fifth, seventh and eighth innings, but never allowed a big inning as Minnesota stranded four runners in scoring position. Jared Moore (1-1) earned the win in a predetermined pitch-count start, allowing a run in three innings on three hits with no walks and three strikeouts.
Jake Doller followed Moore with two innings of work, allowing a run and striking out one. After Johnny Fasola allowed a run in the sixth, freshmen Robert Youngdahl and Nate Williams finished out the game with a combined three scoreless innings.
“I thought guys did what they needed to do,” head coach Brad Hill said. “Youngdahl and Williams both pitched through some pressure, and I thought Jake Doller was much better. Jared Moore got through his three innings fairly clean. This is what it’s about – getting experience and building on positives. For the most part, those guys did a really nice job today.”
King recorded the big hit for K-State in the eighth inning to essentially put the game away. With the Wildcats leading 6-3, King hammered a 3-1 pitch over the wall in right field to push the Wildcat lead to four. It was King’s second home run of the season and his first hit of the series after goes hitless in his previous six at-bats.
“That almost put the game away,” Hill said. “I would have liked to get the run home in the ninth. We’re still not really efficient with men in scoring position. We haven’t really got the big hits, but we’re getting guys on base by getting hit by pitches and walking. We’re just missing a big hit to really break an inning open.”
Four different Wildcats – Tanner Witt, Wade Hinkle, Matt Giller and Mike Kindel – recorded two-hit games. It was Hinkle’s ninth multi-hit game of the season, while Witt finished out the two-game series with five hits in seven at-bats.
RJ Santigate was 0-for-4, but was productive at the plate by driving in two runs. Ross Kivett also drove in a pair of runs on a second-inning double as part of a three-run inning.
Kivett’s two-run double followed a run-scoring fielder’s choice by Santigate. Giller drove in a run on a single in the third, while Santigate came back to hit a sacrifice fly in the fifth before King’s homer three innings later.
Minnesota starting pitcher Jordan Jess (0-2) suffered the loss as he allowed four runs on three hits with four walks in two innings of work. The Gophers were led at the plate by Michael Handel, who was 2-for-3.
“That’s six in a row, but at the same time, this is a week of mental and physical toughness,” Hill said about the Wildcats’ schedule. “After playing four last weekend and two this week, we have to go down and play three against one of the hottest teams in the country and a favorite to win the conference.”
The Wildcats travel to College Station, Texas, to open up their Big 12 schedule against Texas A&M this Friday through Sunday, March 16-18, at Blue Bell Park. First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. The game can be heard in the Manhattan area on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN, as well as online at both www.k-statesports.com and www.1350kman.com.