April 17, 2011
LINCOLN, Neb. – Kansas State freshman Jared King broke a 2-2 tie in the eighth with a solo home run and James Allen pitched 2.2 shutout innings as the Wildcats evened their Big 12 series with Nebraska by topping the Huskers 3-2 Sunday afternoon at Hawks Field.
With the win, head coach Brad Hill earned his 250th victory at Kansas State, while the Cats improved to 20-14 overall and 5-9 in Big 12 play. The Huskers dropped to 23-14 on the season and 4-7 in league action.
Down 2-0, K-State tied the game with single runs in the fifth and sixth innings. With one out in the eighth, Nebraska reliever Dylan Vogt (2-1), who stopped a Wildcat rally in the sixth, delivered an inside fastball to King, who smashed it over the right-field wall for his second homer of the year.
That was all that Allen (2-1) needed as he worked around one-out hits in both the eighth and ninth innings to earn his second win of the season and his first since March 6.
“I thought we competed harder today and hit some more balls flat,” Hill said. “We did have some innings set up and couldn’t finish them off, but we ended up getting one more run than they did. James was clutch down the stretch as well.”
Junior right-hander Matt Applegate was impressive in the start, surrendering only a pair of runs in the fourth inning on RBI singles by Cody Asche and Kurt Farmer. In the game’s first three innings, Applegate retired the first nine Nebraska batters with three strikeouts.
Applegate worked around a one-out error in the fifth, pitched a scoreless sixth and struck out Cody Burleson in the seventh after giving up a leadoff single. On the day, he allowed five hits with no walks and four strikeouts.
“We had to have it and we got it,” Hill said of Applegate’s performance. “I am really proud of him. They rattled on him a little bit, but he got it stopped. He came out and threw a few more zeros for us after that. I’m really proud of the fact that he was able to refocus, get his concentration back and continue to make pitches like he did. He had to have that, and we got it from him.”
Allen entered the contest in the seventh, fanning Michael Pritchard and forcing a fly out to get out of the frame. The junior allowed two hits with a pair of strikeouts.
“James responded in a pressure situation and made pitches,” said Hill. “He gave up one double and didn’t panic. He was able to come back and made pitches like he had to. It was just great composure on his part.”
Mike Kindel, Ross Kivett and Tanner Witt each recorded multi-hit games for Kansas State, which had no hitter with more than one hit in Saturday’s 3-2 loss. Witt tied his career high with three singles, a walk and a run scored. Kivett and Kindel each went 2-for-4, while Kivett drove in one run.
Nick Martini’s streak of consecutive games reaching base safely came to an end as the junior went 0-for-5. The streak, which began on June 1, 2009, lasted 93 games, a new NCAA record.
Chad Christensen went 2-for-4 to lead the Huskers, who saw their top six hitters in the lineup record one hit each but had the bottom three spots combine to go 0-for-11.
In the fourth, NU left fielder Kale Kiser led off with a single to begin the two-run rally that was capped by the singles from Asche and Farmer.
Witt led off the Wildcat fifth with a single and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and a single by Jake Brown. Kivett was next and hit a pitch through the infield on a hit-and-run to get the Cats on the board.
Wade Hinkle tied the game at 2-2 the next inning as he laid down a perfect squeeze bunt to score Kindel from third.
The rubber match between the Wildcats and Huskers is slated for Monday at 1:05 p.m., at Hawks Field. The game is available in the Manhattan listening area on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN and online at both www.k-statesports.com and www.1350kman.com.
Kansas State returns to Tointon Family Stadium on Tuesday to take on Missouri State in a 6 p.m. tilt. General admission bench tickets for the contest are available for $1, while hot dogs are also only $1 while supplies last.
To order tickets, fans can log on www.k-statesports.com/tickets, call 1-800-221-CATS or visit the Kansas State Athletic Ticket office inside Bramlage Coliseum. The ticket windows at Tointon Family Stadium open one hour prior to first pitch.