(Courtesy K-State Sports Information)
#21 Cal Poly connected on five home runs, including a late three-run shot in a tightly-contested nightcap, to sweep Kansas State in a Friday doubleheader, 13-10 and 6-2, at Tointon Family Stadium. With the twin bill sweep, the Mustangs improved to 13-1, while K-State fell to 8-5.
Designated hitter Brian Mundell led the Mustang charge with three home runs and seven RBI over the two games. He recorded a two-run homer in a six-run fifth inning of the first game and extended the CPU lead with a solo shot in the ninth. His three-run home run over the left-field wall in the eighth inning of the nightcap turned a pitcher’s duel into a four-run advantage.
K-State first baseman Shane Conlon extended his hitting streak to 13 games with hits in both contests. His streak ranks as the second-best mark to open a season in head coach Brad Hill’s 10 years at K-State, and he is now two games shy of Carter Jurica’s 15-game hitting streak to begin the 2010 campaign.
Sophomore Austin Fisher, who had five hits and two RBI, led the Wildcats offensively throughout the twin bill. The shortstop continued his streak of consecutive games with a RBI, a mark that now stands at seven and ranks as the top mark in the last 10 years by a #9 hitter.
Cal Poly’s game-one starting pitcher Joey Wagman (3-1) earned the win in the slugfest, allowing six runs (five earned) on seven hits with two walks and eight strikeouts in 5.1 innings. Reed Reilly collected his sixth save of the year by throwing the final 3.2 innings.
The Mustangs’ starter in game two, Matt Imhof, took a no decision despite surrendering only one run on six hits with two walks and five strikeouts in six innings. Right-handed reliever Michael Holback (2-0) notched his second victory of the year when he allowed just one run on three hits in the final three innings.
“I was very impressed with their starters and the arms they brought out of the pen,” Hill said of the Mustang pitchers. “In the second game, it was just too many little things we didn’t do. We had two-out errors that came back to bite us, and we didn’t get two-out hits when we had those situations. We also didn’t execute bunts and got picked off a couple times. When you start adding up those five or six things, a team like that is going to beat you every time.”
K-State’s Nate Williams (2-2) suffered the loss in game one after working a season-low 4.1 innings and allowing six runs (five earned) on six hits. Left-hander Joe Flattery (1-2) took a tough-luck loss in the second game by giving up only two runs in a season-long 7.2 innings and tying his career high with seven strikeouts.
K-State scored the first run of the nightcap in the second inning on a Fisher double down the right-field line, but the Mustangs quickly answered the next half inning on a Jimmy Allen two-out single, his second of three hits in the contest.
Flattery and Imhof were effective over the next four frames until Cal Poly strung together four two-out hits in the eighth inning. After a strikeout and a ground out, Flattery gave up a single, and K-State elected to bring Jared Moore out of the bullpen. The left-hander immediately gave up consecutive base hits, the second a RBI single by Alex Torres, before Mundell’s three-run shot made the score 5-1.
The Wildcats tried to battle back in the bottom half when RJ Santigate registered a two-out RBI single, but Holback got out of the inning and worked around a two-out single in the ninth, forcing Kansas State to strand its 10th base runner of the contest with a game-ending strikeout.
Cal Poly jumped out in front during the first game with two runs in the first inning, but the Wildcats scored one in the second inning and three in the third to take a 4-2 lead. The three-run frame featured a Fisher RBI triple to deep center field, while a Tanner Witt ground out and a Santigate single completed the scoring.
The lead would not last for long as Cal Poly scored eight runs over the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to take a 10-4 advantage. Six of the Mustang runs came on homers as Mundell hit his two-run shot before John Schuknecht jumped on a fast ball for a three-run homer in the fifth. Allen also homered, a solo shot just inside the left-field foul pole in the sixth inning.
The Wildcats came back with four runs over the sixth and seventh innings, including a three-run sixth when Joe Goodwin doubled home a run, Conlon was hit with the bases loaded and Witt drove home a run on a ground out. Blair DeBord put the Cats within two at 10-8 on a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning.
Mundell’s leadoff homer in the ninth inning was followed by a Tim Wise RBI double and a Schuknecht sacrifice fly that seemed to put the game away at 13-8, but for a second time in the game, the Wildcats would not go away. K-State put together four-straight two-out hits in the ninth, including a DeBord RBI double and a run-scoring single by Witt, while a walk loaded the bases and brought the winning run to the plate. Reilly, who finished with 72 pitches on the day, forced Ross Kivett to hit into a game-ending ground out.
K-State will look to avoid the sweep on Saturday afternoon against Cal Poly. First pitch is slated for 2:00pm at Tointon Family Stadium, with the weather clearing up in the afternoon. The BD4 Distributing Pregame Show begins at 1:30 on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN with Matt Walters on the call.
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