Kivett, Witt Lead K-State to 4-3 Victory
March 20, 2013
MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State's Ross Kivett delivered a go-ahead RBI single in the eighth inning and Tanner Witt worked around a leadoff double in the ninth for his fourth save of the year as the Wildcats defeated Minnesota, 4-3, Wednesday afternoon at Tointon Family Stadium.
With the win, K-State split the midweek series against the Gophers and improved to 13-8, while Minnesota fell to 13-9.
K-State trailed Minnesota, 3-0, before a two-run fifth inning got the Wildcats to within a run. Shane Conlon then connected on his fourth home run of the year, a solo shot in the seventh inning, to tie the game at 3-3.
Blair DeBord led off the Wildcat eighth with a single up the middle and moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt. After a wild pitch moved the K-State catcher to third, Kivett singled through the left-side of a drawn-in infield to plate the go-ahead run.
Minnesota first baseman Dan Olinger kept the Gophers' hopes alive when he doubled to right field to lead off the ninth inning, but Witt quickly responded with two outs on a short fly-ball out to center field and a ground out to second base. With the tying run now just 90 feet away, Witt struck out Ryan Abrahamson to end the game.
"It was a great job by our guys to battle back," head coach Brad Hill said. "We didn't panic too much even though we stranded a lot of base runners. Some guys had some big hits in the end.
"I thought the bullpen was outstanding," Hill continued. "Tanner showed great composure after the leadoff double."
Kansas State was led offensively by DeBord, who tied his career high with three hits. Kivett and Jon Davis tallied two hits apiece. With his single in the sixth inning, Davis extended his streak of consecutive games reaching base to 19.
Wildcat freshman reliever Jake Matthys, a product of Spring Lake, Minn., earned the win by tossing a scoreless eighth inning with a strikeout. Witt's fourth save of the year put him within two of entering the school's top 10 for both a season and a career.
Along with Matthys, freshman pitchers Blake McFadden and Levi MaVorhis kept K-State within striking distance. McFadden, who started the game on the hill, allowed the three runs (two earned) on only four hits and two walks with four strikeouts in four innings. MaVorhis followed McFadden out of the bullpen with three shutout innings, surrendering just one hit and striking out three.
"It was a good start by Blake McFadden," Hill said. "I thought he showed good composure. He continues to get better and better. We're going to need him for the midweek games. MaVorhis was really good and Matthys was outstanding again."
The Gophers plated single runs in three of the first five innings to take their 3-0 lead. Matt Malloran hit a sacrifice fly following an Abrahamson triple in the second inning. Connor Schaefbauer singled and scored in the third inning before Troy Larson walked and scored in the fifth.
K-State was able to get back in the game with two runs in the bottom half on a DeBord RBI double to deep left-center field and a Witt sacrifice fly. The Wildcats squandered a chance to take the lead in the sixth inning when they left the bases loaded, three of 11 runners stranded in the contest.
"We have to continue to stay composed," Hill said. "Hitting is contagious and so is driving in runs. If a couple guys get hot and start driving in runs, we'll have even more guys doing that too."
Minnesota right-hander Lance Thonvold (1-2) suffered the loss by allowing a run on two hits in 1.2 innings. The Gophers were paced offensively by Olinger's two hits.
Kansas State takes on Bethune-Cookman in a three-game series, Friday through Sunday, at Tointon Family Stadium. Tickets are available online at www.k-statesports.com/tickets, by phone at 1-800-221-CATS or in person either at the K-State Athletics ticket office inside Bramlage Coliseum or the Tointon Family Stadium box office beginning 60 minutes prior to first pitch.
All three games can be seen world-wide on K-StateHD.TV and heard in the Manhattan area on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN. Free live audio of the series can also be heard online at both www.k-statesports.com and www.1350kman.com.