Back-to-back run-scoring hits from Jared King and Ross Kivett jump started the K-State offense in the top of the 7th in a 5-1 win over High Point on Friday afternoon in the season opener at Charleston, SC. The Cats stranded six runners in the first six innings against the Panthers, including three in scoring position before finding their spark in the final three innings.
Tanner Witt led off the K-State 7th with a single to left field, and Shane Conlin sacrificed him to second. King then busted the door open for the Cats with an RBI triple to right center field to tie the game at 1 apiece. With the infield drawn in, Kivett followed up with a go-ahead RBI single to left just past the diving glove of High Point shortstop Willie Medina for a 2-1 edge.
That gave K-State sophomore pitcher Nate Williams just enough offense to get in line for the win in his first start, after serving as the team’s closer in 2012. Williams (1-0) went six innings, giving up one run on five hits, with six strikeouts and just one walk. Jared Moore, Gerardo Esquivel, and Witt each contributed one inning of scoreless relief to finish the Wildcat victory.
K-State (1-0) got the insurance runs they needed in the top of the 9th on a leadoff solo home run from shortstop Austin Fisher, and a two-run single from Jon Davis. Witt led the Cats with three hits, while Conlin, King, Kivett, Mitch Meyer and R.J. Santigate each contributed two on a 15-hit day.
High Point (0-1) scored their lone run on a Spencer Angelis two-out RBI single in the bottom of the first. Panther reliever Malcolm Clapsaddle (0-1) gave up four of the five K-State runs in relief of starter Jacob Newberry, who went 5 2/3 scoreless innings. Medina led the High Point offense with four hits.
K-State will return to the field on Saturday afternoon at 1:00pm central in the the Homewood Suites Tournament presented by Charleston Crab House at Riley Park in Charleston against The Citadel, who are the tourney hosts. The game between the Cats and Bulldogs was originally scheduled for 3:00pm, but the threat of impending weather pushed the start time up. The BD4 Distributing Pregame Show will begin at 12:30 on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN with Rob Voelker and Ryan Lackey.
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