K-State’s Will Brennan turned in his second straight four-hit performance and reliever Jared Marolf threw a career-high 5 2/3 innings in the Wildcats’ 13-6 series-clinching victory over Mercer Sunday at Tointon Family Stadium. That’s according to a release from K-State Athletics.
K-State (10-5) scored 10 of the game’s final 11 runs over a five-inning stretch and pounded out a season-high 19 base hits in the rubber game of the series with the Bears (12-5). The Cats have won three consecutive weekend series and are 10-2 over their last 12 games.
Marolf, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, entered the game in relief of starter Justin Heskett with one out and two runners on in the fourth inning with the Cats trailing 5-3. Marolf escaped the jam unscathed and would go on to finish the game, earning his first win of the season after not allowing an earned run and scattering three hits and striking out three.
K-State gave Marolf a 6-5 lead with a three-run fourth inning. The first three Wildcat hitters – Hanz Harker, Dylan Watts and Brennan – each singled. Brett Owen then contributed a sacrifice fly followed by Drew Mount’s RBI groundout. Brennan’s RBI single was the first of four consecutive at-bats in which the sophomore leadoff hitter recorded a base hit.
Brennan finished 4-for-6 with two runs batted in and scored three times to up his average to a Big 12-leading .493. The 6-foot left fielder matched his single-game career high with four hits and extended his on-base streak to 38 games, dating back to the end of last season.
Brennan went 8-for-12 (.667) in the three-game series with the Bears with three doubles, five RBI and five runs scored. His 33 hits on the season lead the conference.
Mount and Owen each drove in three runs while third baseman Rainer Ausmus went 3-for-4 with two doubles and a pair of RBI. Trent McMaster, Jordan Maxson, Harker and Watts all tallied two hits in the game as a total of seven Wildcats delivered multi-hit games.
Mercer took an early 1-0 last as the first three Bears to come to the plate in the first inning reached base off Heskett to load the bases. Heskett was able to limit the damage to just one run, striking out two batters but an infield single from Alex Hanson brought home MU’s run in the inning. Heskett allowed three hits and issued one walk in the frame.
Six straight Wildcat batters reached base with two outs in the home first, including a stretch of five consecutive base hits. Ausmus’ two-run double was followed by an RBI single from McMaster and handed the Cats a 3-1 lead after an inning.
K-State hit .462 (7-for-15) with two outs and had five two-out RBI on the day.
Mercer scratched across an unearned run in the top of the second that cut K-State’s lead to just one through an inning and a half before putting up three runs in the third. RJ Yeager delivered a two-run double as MU registered three hits and was aided by a K-State error in the inning.
The Wildcats retook the lead with their three-run fourth inning and later added a run in the sixth, two in the seventh and four in the eighth.
MU scored an unearned run off Marolf in the seventh on David Poses’ infield single that scored Yeager, who had earlier reached on an error. Marolf retired the first four hitters he faced and put down the final seven Mercer batters to end the game.
The Cats handed MU starter Chase Burks his first loss of the season after tagging him for six earned runs in four innings. Burks struck out six and yielded nine base hits.
Heskett, in a no-decision effort, gave up five runs (two earned) on eight hits and two walks over 3 1/3 innings of work.
K-State will set its sights on a Tuesday night matchup with Creighton at Tointon Family Stadium.