*STORY COURTESY OF KSTATESPORTS.COM*
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Jared King and Wade Hinkle combined for five hits and seven RBI as Kansas State completed a weekend sweep of Nebraska Omaha with a 10-2 victory Sunday afternoon at Tointon Family Stadium.
With the win, K-State improved to 22-27 on the season and earned its first three-game sweep since early April. The Mavericks fell to 12-35 with the loss.
The Wildcats tallied double-digit hits for the third-straight game and scored at least 10 runs in back-to-back contests. K-State also drew six walks after seven on Friday and 16 on Saturday as the Wildcats recorded a team on-base percentage of .500 in the three-game set. On the mound, Kansas State tallied a 3.67 ERA over the weekend and struck out 17 batters as opposed to just four walks.
“We saw a lot more positives this week,” head coach Brad Hill said. “It feels good to get the wins. It makes it a lot lighter coming to the ballpark. You can see guys a lot lighter in their step. The body language and posture was a lot better, so it was a good three days for us.”
Hinkle and King each registered RBI doubles as Hinkle hit a ball off the right-field wall to drive home a run in the first inning, while King sprayed a two-run double down the left-field line to complete a three-run sixth. The duo also tallied back-to-back sacrifice flies to score a pair of Wildcat runs in the third.
King, who went 3-for-4 with four RBI in the series finale, finished the series against UNO 7-for-12 with four extra-base hits and 11 RBI, the most RBI by a Wildcat in a three-game series in Hill’s nine-plus seasons at K-State. In the process, the Wildcat center fielder extended his hitting streak to six games.
“I thought Jared was really mature this weekend,” Hill said. “He didn’t try to pull the ball a lot. He just took his hits and RBI. That’s how you build your resume with your stats. Guys get caught up with trying to put up power numbers, but it’s all about getting on base and driving runs in. I thought he was very mature. He just took his hits into left field and center field. He had a good approach and a big weekend because of that.”
Hinkle was 2-for-3 as he also singled in the fifth and drove home a run on a ground out in the eighth. Kivett added two hits and walked twice, while he tied his season best with three runs scored.
Making his first career start, freshman left-hander Robert Youngdahl (2-1) worked around leadoff singles in his first three innings to shut down the Mavericks. A leadoff single in the fourth came around to score on a balk with two runners on base, but Youngdahl recorded a strikeout and a fly out to retire the side.
Youngdahl, who was on a predetermined pitch-count start, worked around six hits and a walk with two strikeouts in a career-long four innings of work.
“He was kind of bend, don’t break,” Hill said. “He gave up a lot of hits in a few innings, but he continued to make pitches. He was helped by two great plays from RJ (Santigate). I thought he pitched through adversity pretty well, but he needs to continue to be aggressive.”
Another freshman, Nate Williams, came on in relief of Youngdahl to toss three scoreless innings in his career-long outing. The right-hander allowed a pair of infield singles and collected one strikeout. Senior right-hander Matt Applegate finished out the game, allowing a run on one hit with a walk and a strikeout in two innings of work.
After Hinkle’s double in the first and the sacrifice flies in the third, Jon Davis drove home a run on a single up the middle in the fifth. The next inning, Jake Brown made the score 5-1 on a fielder’s choice before King’s two-run double. King and RJ Santigate singled home runs in the eighth in between Hinkle’s RBI ground out.
Nebraska Omaha starter Cole Volkers (1-2) suffered the loss by allowing four runs on five hits with three walks and five strikeouts. The Mavericks were led at the plate by third baseman Brady Hohl and shortstop Scotty Donner with two hits apiece.
NEXT GAME: Friday, May 11 vs. KANSAS (19-29 overall, 4-13 Big 12)
Kansas State returns to action next weekend, Friday through Sunday, as the Wildcats host Kansas in the Sunflower Showdown at Tointon Family Stadium. The game can be heard live in the Manhattan area on Sports Radio 1350 KMAN. The voice of the Wildcats, Wyatt Thompson, will have the call alongside Brian Smoller and KMAN’s own Matt Walters. Pregame coverage from the K-State Sports Network begins at 6 p.m. First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m.