April 17, 2012
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Ross Kivett pulled a game-winning RBI double down the left-field line in the bottom of the ninth inning as Kansas State earned its first walk-off win of the season with a 4-3 victory over Northern Colorado Tuesday evening at Tointon Family Stadium.
The Wildcats, who improved to 11-0 all-time against the Bears, evened their season record at 18-18. Northern Colorado fell to 14-18.
Trailing 3-1, Northern Colorado scored two runs in the top of the ninth to tie the game. With no outs, the Bears recorded four-straight singles, including a two-run base hit to left field by pinch-hitter Bryan Tibbitts. With the go-ahead run at second base, Jake Doller (1-0) induced a double play grounder, but on the play the Bears moved a runner just 90 feet away from taking the lead.
Following an intentional walk, Doller caught a line drive off the bat of Casey Coy to end the rally and keep the game tied at 3-3.
Reliever Josh Tinnon (0-1) struck out Jake Brown to begin the bottom of the ninth. Tanner Witt reached on an error by third baseman Tony Crudo. With the ball rolling into short left field, Witt hustled to second base and barely beat left fielder Jensen Park's throw to put the winning run into scoring position. Kivett then delivered a sharp liner just inside the third-base bag for the game winner.
“We always talk about trying to hit the ball hard and flat, and it ended up being two balls that were hit hard and flat that won the game for us,” head coach Brad Hill said. “We have too many guys getting the ball up in the air and reaching for pitches. We’re better hitters than what we showed.”
Kivett finished the game 2-for-4 as he picked up his second ninth-inning game-winning RBI of the season. It was also his second career walk-off hit as he sent the Wildcats to a 10-inning, 11-10 victory in the 2011 home finale against Kansas.
Doller picked up his first win of the season and second of his career. Jared Moore started the game and worked a career-long five innings, allowing a run on four hits with three walks and four strikeouts. The left-hander threw 96 pitches, bettering his career high of 56 on February 20 against CSU Bakersfield.
“The pitching was solid all night long,” Hill said. “I thought Jared Moore competed really well. He threw a lot of pitches in five innings, but he made pitches when he had to, and we made good plays behind him. Tanner was really good and Jake was good too, but he just left some pitches up in the ninth. He created a pressure situation, but he got us out of the inning tied up, which was big.”
Brown recorded his ninth multi-hit game by going 2-for-4 with a RBI single in the fifth inning. The Russell, Kan., product now has a career-best 28 RBI this season, which ranks season on the team. Jon Davis, who entered the game defensively in the sixth inning, drove in a run in the seventh in his only at-bat of the night. With the single, the junior tied his career-long hitting streak at five games.
Witt, who also pitched two shutout innings, was hit by a fifth-inning pitch and has reached base safely in 32 of his 35 games played this season.
Crudo and Adrian Schenk paced the Bears with two hits apiece. Schenk drove in the first Northern Colorado run in the fourth inning when he beat out a potential inning-ending double play with runners on the corners.
K-State concludes its midweek series with Northern Colorado on Wednesday with a 3 p.m., first pitch at Tointon Family Stadium. Fans can order tickets online at www.k-statesports.com/tickets or in person at the Tointon Family Stadium box office prior to the game.
Wednesday’s contest can be seen world-wide on K-StateHD.TV and will be aired in the Manhattan area on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN. Free live audio is also available at www.k-statesports.com and www.1350kman.com.