March 26, 2013
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MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State’s Ross Kivett drove in a career-high five RBI as the Wildcats held on for a 10-8 victory over Nebraska Tuesday evening at Tointon Family Stadium.
With the win, K-State improved to 17-8 on the season and picked up its first victory over the Huskers since April 17, 2011. Tuesday’s game marked the first of a three-game set throughout the season as NU returns to Manhattan next Tuesday before the series concludes April 23 in Lincoln. Nebraska fell to 8-15 with the loss.
After fouling out in his first at-bat of the game, Kivett drove in runs in each of his next four plate appearances. He recorded a RBI single in the second inning, a sacrifice fly in the fourth, a run-scoring double in the sixth and capped his evening with a two-run single in the seventh that gave K-State a 10-6 lead.
“He was really locked in,” head coach Brad Hill said. “It was good to see him come through in those big situations. He didn’t try to do too much. He just put the ball on the ground through the middle or to the left side. He had a good approach in those situations.”
A product of Broadview Heights, Ohio, Kivett collected the most RBI by a Wildcat since Wade Hinkle also had five at Minnesota on March 13 last season.
The Wildcat second baseman paced a K-State offense that turned a 5-2 fifth-inning deficit into a 10-5 advantage thanks to eight combined runs over the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.
Nebraska broke a 2-2 tie with an Austin Darby three-run homer in the top of the fifth, but the Wildcats plated three in the bottom half to tie the game at 5-5. Austin Fisher hit a hot shot to first base with the bases loaded, a ball that Kash Kalkowski mishandled as two came across. Jon Davis followed with a sacrifice fly to center field to quickly erase the deficit.
“It was a bounce-back inning and a good effort by our guys,” Hill said. “It was little things. We were able to execute a couple of bunts, but we also had some big hits. Our offense did a super job tonight.”
After Levi MaVorhis (2-0) retired the Huskers in order in the top of the sixth, the first three Wildcats reached base in the bottom half, including a RBI double by Kivett down the right-field line and a Tanner Witt RBI triple to deep left-center field. Following a pop out, Jared King doubled to left field to complete the inning and give K-State an 8-5 lead, one they would not give up.
MaVorhis, a freshman, tossed two innings and allowed a seventh-inning run, but he did not walk and batter and struck out three. His shutdown inning in the sixth and the fact that he consistently found the strike zone was pivotal in the game as walks hurt the Wildcats early in the contest.
Aside from Kivett’s three hits, King also tied his season high by going 3-for-4. Blair DeBord and RJ Santigate recorded two hits apiece, while Davis scored three runs and had a RBI without an official at-bat. Davis reached base and scored in the fourth inning via his 11th hit-by-pitch of the season, which is only one shy of entering the school’s top-10 list.
Nebraska’s Colton Howell (0-1) gave up the three sixth-inning runs without recording an out to suffer the loss. Darby paced Nebraska with three hits and three RBI, while Rich Sanguinetti, Patt Kelly and Michael Pritchard had two hits apiece.
Nebraska jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning on RBI hits by Wes Edrington and Sanguinetti before K-State tied the game on Kivett’s second-inning single and four-inning sacrifice fly.
The Huskers made the game interesting in the ninth inning by scoring two runs on consecutive infield singles with two outs, and they had the tying run at second base, but Witt induced a game-ending fly out.
Kansas State hits the road for the first time since February 24, with a three-game series against Baylor, Thursday through Saturday, at Baylor Ballpark in Waco, Texas. Thursday’s game begins at 6:35 p.m., and can be heard exclusively online at both www.k-statesports.com and www.1350kman.com. The final two games of the series can also be heard in the Manhattan area on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN. Saturday’s series finale, which begins at 1:05 p.m., will be shown to a national audience on Fox College Sports.