Three-Run Homers Propel Cats to Win over Nebraska
March 16, 2011
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State used the long ball to rally from a 5-0 deficit as the Wildcats topped Nebraska, 6-5, in a non-conference game Wednesday evening at Tointon Family Stadium.
With the victory, K-State improved to 12-4 on the season and ended its season-long nine-game homestand with a 7-2 mark. The Huskers fell to 10-7 on the year, including a 0-4 road record.
Nebraska scored four times in the third inning to jump ahead 5-0, but Mike Kindel hit a three-run home run in the bottom half of the inning before Kent Urban provided the eventual game-winning blast, another three-run shot in the fifth.
Kansas State received quality outings from relief pitchers Jared Moore, Tyler Sturges, Shawn Lewick and James Allen to keep the Huskers scoreless over the final six frames while striking out seven batters.
“We continue to fall behind, and we need to find a way to stop big innings,” head coach Brad Hill said. “But, we ran some guys out there that we really needed to see pitch, and they came through for us. We’ve had to rely so much on Evan Marshall and James Allen early, so we haven’t been able to see these other guys and we need these other guys.”
Kindel and Urban each went 2-for-3 with three RBI, while junior Jason King, who just missed a home run before Kindel’s blast, was 2-for-4. Nick Martini was 0-for-2 on the evening, but walked and was hit by a pitch to extend his nation-leading streak of reaching base safely to 76 games.
“Mike just got a ball up in the zone that he could hit,” Hill said. “We have swung at pitches out of the zone in RBI situations. We didn’t do that tonight and we need to continue to work at it.”
Jake Doller (1-0), who allowed one of the Huskers’ third-inning runs, settled down to work around two-out singles in the fourth and fifth innings, keeping the K-State deficit at 5-3. The right-hander earned his first career victory, throwing a career-high 2.2 innings with a pair of strikeouts.
Allen picked up his fifth save in seven appearances this season, striking out two batters in the ninth inning. The junior earned his 18th career save, moving him into second place all-time at Kansas State behind Daniel Edwards, who had 26 saves from 2005-08.
The Kansas State pitching staff combined for 11 strikeouts, the fifth time during the homestand K-State fanned 10 or more batters.
Nebraska relief pitcher Tyler King (0-1), who gave up the home run to Urban, took the loss, allowing two runs on two hits in two innings of work.
After the Huskers scored a run in the second inning, Cody Asche began the third by hitting a one-out homer over the left-field wall. A pair of doubles from Chad Christensen and Kurt Farmer pushed the Huskers' lead to five.
Kansas State responded in its half of the inning putting two runners on base. After King flied out deep to right field for the second out, Kindel sent a 1-1 pitch over the right-field wall to bring Kansas State to within 5-3.
In the fifth, Nebraska starter Dylan Vogt got two quick outs before giving up a single to King. Nebraska brought in Tyler King to face Kindel, who hustled out an infield single to keep the inning alive. Urban followed with a towering shot over the right-field wall to give K-State a 6-5 lead, one it would not relinquish thanks to the bullpen.
Kansas State begins Big 12 play this Friday with a three-game series at Texas. First pitch Friday at UFCH Disch-Falk Field is scheduled for 6 p.m., and can be heard in the Manhattan area on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN and online for free at www.k-statesports.com.