MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State junior RJ Santigate registered a career-best three hits and sophomore Jared King drove in four runs to tie his career high as the Wildcats defeated Nebraska Omaha, 9-4, Friday evening at Tointon Family Stadium.
With the win, K-State snapped a nine-game losing skid as it picked up its first victory since April 18 against Northern Colorado. The Wildcats advanced to 20-27 on the season, while the Mavericks fell to 12-33.
Santigate capped a three-run Wildcat first inning when he ripped a two-run double into the left-center field gap and came back with singles in both the third and fifth innings. King also drove home a run in the first on a single through the right side of the infield and capped his night with a three-run home run in the eighth inning, his fifth of the season.
“We really got off to a good start offensively by hitting that double into the gap,” head coach Brad Hill said. “That’s the big hit we’ve been looking for. RJ has been really swinging the bat well. For the last 10 days to two weeks, he’s been one of our most impressive guys in batting practice, and it’s starting to carry over into games. You can see his confidence starting to build. Jared is starting to come back. When we starts to get opposite-field hits and hits up the middle, that’s when he’s back to being a .400-type hitter.”
K-State tallied 13 hits on the evening, including four doubles, as the Wildcats registered their most runs, hits and doubles since April 15 against No. 5 Baylor. Along with Santigate and King, Davis also singled twice to pick up his 10thmulti-hit game of the season.
K-State starter Kayvon Bahramzadeh (5-3) was equally impressive from the outset as he began the evening by sitting down 16 of the first 17 Mavericks he faced. The right-hander, who picked up his first victory since April 7 against Sacred Heart, tossed six innings and allowed two runs on just three hits with no walks and four strikeouts. It was his third start this season that he worked at least six innings and surrendered three or fewer hits. The Tucson, Ariz., product threw 76 pitches on the night, 54 of which were strikes.
“In the first four innings, every time I looked up the count was 0-and-2,” Hill said. “Every hitter was either 0-and-2 or 1-and-2. I thought he did a good job of attacking the zone early. He didn’t have a good feel for his breaking ball tonight. He was really a one-pitch guy for the most part. He competed really well for us.”
Bahramzadeh ran into trouble in the sixth when he allowed a double and hit a batter before Caleb Palensky tripled into the right-field corner to score a pair of runs, making the score 5-2. The senior was able to settle back down as he forced a fly out to retire the side, which ended up being the final hitter he would face.
Jared Moore came on in relief and tossed 1.1 scoreless innings, allowing one hit with a strikeout. Freshman Matt Wivinis, who entered in a three-run ballgame, picked up his second save of the year by throwing the final 1.2 innings.
Nebraska Omaha starter Andrew Reck (1-6) suffered the loss after allowing five runs (four earned) on five hits with four walks and three strikeouts.
The Wildcats were unable to get to Maverick reliever Brandon Winkelmann, who tossed three scoreless innings, but they came back to life in the eighth when Ross Kivett doubled home a run right before King’s three-run shot that gave the Wildcats a seven-run advantage.
The added runs were needed as the Mavericks scratched across a pair of runs against Wivinis in the ninth inning on consecutive two-out base hits by Dylan McGill and Jeff McNichols. UNO continued to threaten in the inning with two runners on base, but K-State first baseman Wade Hinkle ran down a pop up in foul territory to end the game.
(Story courtesy of KStateSports.com)
NEXT GAME: Saturday, May 5 vs. NEBRASKA OMAHA (12-33)
The Wildcats continue their weekend series with Mavericks on Saturday in Manhattan, Kan., with game two of the three game stretch. The game can be heard live in the Manhattan area on Sports Radio 1350 KMAN and online at 1350kman.com. Brian Smoller will have the call alongside KMAN’s own John Kurtz. Coverage on KMAN begins at 1:30 p.m. with the BD4 Distributing Pregame Show. First pitch from Tointon Family Stadium is slated for 2 p.m.