May 4, 2012
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State junior RJ Santigate registered a career-best three hits and sophomore Jared King drove in four runs to tie his career high as the Wildcats defeated Nebraska Omaha, 9-4, Friday evening at Tointon Family Stadium.
With the win, K-State snapped a nine-game losing skid as it picked up its first victory since April 18 against Northern Colorado. The Wildcats advanced to 20-27 on the season, while the Mavericks fell to 12-33.
Santigate capped a three-run Wildcat first inning when he ripped a two-run double into the left-center field gap and came back with singles in both the third and fifth innings. King also drove home a run in the first on a single through the right side of the infield and capped his night with a three-run home run in the eighth inning, his fifth of the season.
“We really got off to a good start offensively by hitting that double into the gap,” head coach Brad Hill said. “That’s the big hit we’ve been looking for. RJ has been really swinging the bat well. For the last 10 days to two weeks, he’s been one of our most impressive guys in batting practice, and it’s starting to carry over into games. You can see his confidence starting to build. Jared is starting to come back. When we starts to get opposite-field hits and hits up the middle, that’s when he’s back to being a .400-type hitter.”
K-State tallied 13 hits on the evening, including four doubles, as the Wildcats registered their most runs, hits and doubles since April 15 against No. 5 Baylor. Along with Santigate and King, Davis also singled twice to pick up his 10th multi-hit game of the season.
K-State starter Kayvon Bahramzadeh (5-3) was equally impressive from the outset as he began the evening by sitting down 16 of the first 17 Mavericks he faced. The right-hander, who picked up his first victory since April 7 against Sacred Heart, tossed six innings and allowed two runs on just three hits with no walks and four strikeouts. It was his third start this season that he worked at least six innings and surrendered three or fewer hits. The Tucson, Ariz., product threw 76 pitches on the night, 54 of which were strikes.
“In the first four innings, every time I looked up the count was 0-and-2,” Hill said. “Every hitter was either 0-and-2 or 1-and-2. I thought he did a good job of attacking the zone early. He didn’t have a good feel for his breaking ball tonight. He was really a one-pitch guy for the most part. He competed really well for us.”
Bahramzadeh ran into trouble in the sixth when he allowed a double and hit a batter before Caleb Palensky tripled into the right-field corner to score a pair of runs, making the score 5-2. The senior was able to settle back down as he forced a fly out to retire the side, which ended up being the final hitter he would face.
Jared Moore came on in relief and tossed 1.1 scoreless innings, allowing one hit with a strikeout. Freshman Matt Wivinis, who entered in a three-run ballgame, picked up his second save of the year by throwing the final 1.2 innings.
Nebraska Omaha starter Andrew Reck (1-6) suffered the loss after allowing five runs (four earned) on five hits with four walks and three strikeouts.
The Wildcats were unable to get to Maverick reliever Brandon Winkelmann, who tossed three scoreless innings, but they came back to life in the eighth when Ross Kivett doubled home a run right before King’s three-run shot that gave the Wildcats a seven-run advantage.
The added runs were needed as the Mavericks scratched across a pair of runs against Wivinis in the ninth inning on consecutive two-out base hits by Dylan McGill and Jeff McNichols. UNO continued to threaten in the inning with two runners on base, but K-State first baseman Wade Hinkle ran down a pop up in foul territory to end the game.
The Wildcats and Mavericks continue their weekend series on Saturday with a 2 p.m., first pitch at Tointon Family Stadium. A pregame tailgate will being at 12:30 p.m., directly behind the stadium off College Avenue and features plenty of food and beverage items. Additionally, the first 250 fans inside Tointon Family Stadium will receive a free “Béisbol de los Gatos” t-shirt. Saturday also serves as Season Ticket Holder Appreciation Day, Youth Team/Camper Day and Overland Park Community Day.
Fans can order tickets through the K-State Athletics Ticket office online at www.k-statesports.com/tickets or at the Tointon Family Stadium box office prior to the game. The contest will be shown world-wide on K-StateHD.TV and will be aired in the Manhattan area on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN as well as online at both www.k-statesports.com and www.1350kman.com.