K-State sweeps Northwestern State

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Seniors Steve Serratore and Jake Scudder combined for six hits, three home runs and 12 RBI in a 19-9 eight-inning victory over Northwestern State Wednesday at Tointon Family Stadium.

K-State (11-2) collects its seventh consecutive victory and matches its best start since the 2011 season.

“They were outstanding today,” head coach Brad Hill said of Serratore and Scudder. “Just a great job by those two guys. Something we’ve talked about with them is stringing together at-bats and they did a really good job today.”

It was the first multi-homer game of Serratore’s career and his five runs driven is a new career high for the 6-foot outfielder. Scudder’s seventh-inning grand slam was his fourth home run in the last five games and his seven RBI is also a career high.

In total, four Wildcats combined to hit five home runs in the ballgame – the most by a K-State team in a single game since March 14, 2009 against Butler. The 19 runs scored by Tuesday’s season-best output of 16 runs.

Seven Cats recorded multiple-hit efforts in the game and freshmen Connor Rule and Cameron Thompson each picked up their first career home runs.

“Credit to a number of our guys who kept their focus,” said Hill. “Guys had good days and guys strung together three or four really good at-bats. That’s what we talk about is not giving away at-bats and good thing we didn’t today and we stayed in the battle pretty good.”

The Cats brought home a pair in the bottom of the first to take an early 2-0 lead after Scudder singled home shortstop Jake Wodtke and then a successful double steal by Scudder and Serratore.

Northwestern State (4-8) first baseman Austin Town hit a three-run shot in the top of the second inning that gave the Demons their first and only lead of the game.

In the home half, the Cats answered with five runs on RBI singles from Thompson and Wodtke before Serratore blasted his first round-tripper to straightaway center field.

Headed into the fifth inning, K-State held a seemingly comfortable 10-4 lead, until NSU led off the inning with a solo home run by left fielder Cade Jones that sparked a five-run inning for the Demons to pull within a run.

With the Demons within striking distance, the Wildcat bullpen clamped down and held the NSU offense to one hit and no runs over the final three and 2/3 innings, allowing the K-State offense to score nine unanswered runs and end the game in the bottom of the eighth inning due to the 10-run rule.

Senior reliever Nick Jones picked up his third victory on and moved to 3-0 on the season. Freshman righty Tyler Eckberg tossed two perfect innings of relief and struck out three Demon hitters.

Wildcat baserunners stole a season-high seven bases in the game, as Wodtke had a pair and Thompson tallied his team-leading seventh swiped base.

Thomson finished the game 4-for-6 with two RBI and four runs scored.

K-State will continue its 14-game home stand Friday against UC Riverside (8-4) of the Big West Conference. The first of three games is slated for a 3 p.m. first pitch and can be seen worldwide on K-StateHD.TV as Brian Smoller and Matt Walters will call the action. Fans can also listen to K-State baseball on KMAN 1350 AM, 93.3 FM and streaming free at k-statesports.com.

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