March 19, 2013
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Minnesota scored four unearned runs in the sixth inning and plated four more in the seventh to turn a one-run deficit into an 8-3 victory over Kansas State Tuesday evening at Tointon Family Stadium. With the win, Minnesota improved to 13-8, while the Wildcats dropped to 12-8.
K-State scored a run in the second inning and starting pitcher Jake Doller (2-1) was cruising as he allowed just three Gopher hits over five scoreless frames. After quickly retiring the first two batters of the sixth inning, Michael Handel reached first base on a throwing error by K-State third baseman RJ Santigate.
The errant throw opened the door for Minnesota and affected Doller as he hit the next man and issued a walk before a bases-clearing by Mark Tatera. Troy Larson was next and reached on an infield single to plate Tatera and make the score 4-1.
“We have to be able to finish innings when we’re pitching, both on the mound and defensively,” head coach Brad Hill said. “We’re just not doing little things. We had the two-out error, but it’s not the two-out error, it’s the walk and hit-by-pitch to load the bases and you put yourself in a pressure situation.”
Minnesota was led offensively Laron’s three hits, while Tatera tripled again in the four-run seventh inning as he finished the game with four RBI. Ryan Abrahamson drove in two of the Gophers’ four runs in the seventh on a double down the right-field line. Minnesota reliever Kevin Kray (2-0) earned the win by tossing a scoreless fifth inning.
Despite the loss, Doller did not give up an earned run over his 5.2 innings while walking one and striking out six. The Lake Waukomis, Mo., product has not allowed an earned run since his first outing of the season at The Citadel, a streak that now stands at 19 innings. Tuesday night also marked his third-straight game with six strikeouts.
The Wildcats looked primed to jump out to a big lead in the second inning when they loaded the bases on a Jared King double and a pair of walks. Blair DeBord then worked a walk of his own to score K-State’s first run, but Minnesota starting pitcher Ty McDevitt forced a pop up and a ground out to leave the bases loaded and minimize the damage.
Kansas State stranded 10 runners in the contest, its second-straight game with at least 10 men left on base.
“We don’t get good at-bats with men in scoring position right now,” Hill said. “We’re not getting off good swings and not getting the pitches we want to hit. We had the bases loaded and only got one. They helped us get the one run with a walk, and they had a triple with the bases loaded.”
DeBord, King and Tanner Witt led the Wildcats at the plate with two hits apiece. Witt and King drove in runs in the seventh inning on a sacrifice fly and an infield single, respectively.
The Wildcats and Gophers conclude their two-game series with a 3 p.m., contest Wednesday afternoon at Tointon Family Stadium. Tickets are available online at www.k-statesports.com/tickets, by phone at 1-800-221-CATS or in person at the Tointon Family Stadium box office beginning at 2 p.m.
The series finale will be televised on Fox Sports Midwest, produced by K-StateHD.TV on Fox Sports. The contest can also be heard in the Manhattan area on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN as well as online for free at both www.k-statesports.com and www.1350kman.com.