March 30, 2011
Final Stats | Photo Gallery
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State third baseman Jason King hit a career-high two home runs, including a grand slam that completed a 10-run first inning, as the Wildcats cruised to a 16-3 victory over Northern Colorado Wednesday afternoon at Tointon Family Stadium.
With the win, K-State improved to 15-9 overall and pushed its home record to 9-2, while UNC fell to 2-17 on the year.
King hit his grand slam – the second of his career – off the scoreboard in right field during his second at-bat of the first inning. He came back with a two-run shot in the fifth to record the first multi-home run game by a Wildcat since Mike Kindel had two against Kent State last year.
King, who was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning, completed his day going 2-for-3 with seven RBI, the most since Drew Biery recorded nine against South Dakota State in 2006.
“He started to hit the ball to left field recently, so he’s not pulling inside pitches down the right-field line – he’s hitting those to right-center,” head coach Brad Hill said of King. “When you start looking for pitches away, it’s a lot easier to hit the pitch that’s inside. Those were great, short swings. He wasn’t muscled up at all. Those were as good of swings as I’ve seen him take in four years here.”
Kansas State sent 12 men to the plate in its 10-run first inning, the most runs in a frame since scoring 11 times in the seventh against South Dakota State on May 17, 2005.
A sacrifice fly by King pushed across the first run. K-State then recorded three two-out singles, including a two-run base hit by Jake Brown. The Wildcats also scored when Dan Klein was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, while Nick Martini drew a bases-loaded walk to bring in the sixth run of the frame. King then came up for his second at-bat of the inning and smashed the grand slam.
King's two home runs pushed his total to a team-leading five for the season.
“That first inning took a lot of pressure off,” Hill said. “There were a lot of competitive at-bats where we had two-out base hits and guys fighting off pitches with two strikes to draw walks and hit-by-pitches. There were a lot of good at-bats strung together, something we haven’t done very often this year.”
K-State tied its season-high with 15 hits in the contest, including three from Wade Hinkle, who equaled his career best. The junior-college transfer, who just returned to the lineup after recovering from a hand injury, finished the two-game series going 5-for-7 with two extra-base hits, three RBI and two runs scored.
Freshmen Jared King and Mitch Meyer also had three hits apiece to register career-highs. Jared King drove in a four runs, teaming with his older brother to collect 11 of the team’s 16 RBI.
Martini only had one official at-bat as he drew two walks, was hit by a pitch and scored three runs. The junior extended his nation-leading streak of consecutive games reaching base to 83, just two shy of the known Division I record.
Junior right-hander Justin Lindsey (3-1), who was making his first start in two weeks, was solid as he took the win in a predetermined four-inning start. He gave up three hits and a walk with a trio of strikeouts. Ben Heairet, Jake Doller and Shane Conlon each tallied scoreless innings of relief as Heairet and Doller fanned one batter each.
Northern Colorado starter Chris Carlberg (0-2) took the loss as he lasted just 0.2 innings, allowing all 10 of Kansas State’s first-inning runs. The Bears were paced with two-hit games by T.J. Berge and Tony Crudo.
Kansas State continues its eight-game homestand against No. 5 Texas A&M in the Wildcats’ Big 12 home-opening series Friday through Sunday. First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., at Tointon Family Stadium.
This weekend’s series also features the first pregame tailgates of the year on Friday and Saturday beginning 90 minutes prior to first pitch in the picnic area beyond the left-field wall. Fans can purchase tickets through the K-State Athletics Ticket office website at www.k-statesports.com/tickets or by calling (800) 221-CATS.