*Courtesy of K-State Sports Information*
WICHITA, Kan. – Freshman Logan Wiley struck out a career-high 10 in five innings, helping K-State fan its most in a game since 2013 with 15, as the Wildcats trumped Wichita State, 5-2, on Wednesday at Eck Stadium to win their third game in a row.
The Wildcats (23-23), taking the season series against the Shockers (16-29) for the third time in the last four years, held Wichita State to 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position. Wiley and a group of four relievers used the 15 punchouts – against one walk – as well as nine fly outs to force the Shockers to strand 10.
Wiley, grabbing his third win in his seventh midweek start of the season, doubled his previous career-high in strikeouts by getting his first seven outs – and eight of his first nine – on strikes. The right-hander had nine strikeouts through the first four innings and became the second Wildcat pitcher this season to reach double-digits in strikeouts by fanning his penultimate batter faced in the fifth.
“Logan made pitches when he had to,” said K-State head coach Brad Hill. “He pitched in trouble a lot tonight. A lot of guys on second with doubles, but he found a way to pitch himself out of it. Great composure for a young guy. Pitching was really solid tonight.”
Colton Kalmus added a strikeout in a 1-2-3 sixth while Mitch Zubradt had two in the eighth and Lucas Benenati contributed two more in the ninth. Benenati worked around a pair of singles in the ninth to notch his team-best fifth save of the season.
Although K-State surrendered 11 Wichita State hits, including five doubles, it held an opponent to two runs or less for the fourth time over the last five games. Over the last six road games, K-State has stymied opponents to two runs five times.
Wichita State staged its biggest threat in the seventh off Kalmus when a leadoff double by Zach Reding was followed up by a single from Keenan Eaton. The Wildcats turned to Nick Jones with runners on the corners, and after an RBI single by Trey Vickers that made it 4-2, Jones followed up a sacrifice bunt with back-to-back groundouts to end the inning with two runners in scoring position. It was the right-hander’s 11th consecutive appearance without allowing a run of his own.
“Nick has been doing a great job for us,” added Hill. “He knows what his role is going to be. He’s come in and executed that very well for about a month.”
The K-State offense relied on its pair of runs in each of the second and third innings for most of its scoring before an RBI double by Quintin Crandall in ninth provided an insurance run and made it 5-2. The double was one of two by the Wildcats among its seven hits.
“We looked a little sluggish with the bats tonight, but Quintin came up with a big hit there in the eighth,” said Hill. “That was big for us to get that extra run.”
The Wildcats fired off a hit-and-run and squeeze play in the second to produce the first run. After Tyler Wolfe drew a one-out walk and Cade Bunnell’s single moved him to third, Crandall dropped down a bunt to plate Wolfe and slide Bunnell into scoring position. Michael Smith then delivered a two-out single up the middle to drive in Bunnell and make it 2-0 K-State.
A leadoff walk by Josh Rolette and one-out double by Tyler Moore in the third inning put runners in scoring position for Wolfe. The senior hit a groundball to Wichita State shortstop Trey Vickers, who misplayed the ball and allowed it to go into center field. Rolette, who was already breaking on the groundball, scored from third before a rundown by Wolfe between first and second allowed Moore to swipe home for the second run on the play.
Moore and Bunnell each led the Wildcats with two hits apiece while Crandall had a team-high two RBI.
Wichita State’s Robby Evans allowed the two runs in the second to take the loss for the Shockers.
Wichita State reliever Zach Lewis held the Wildcats scoreless from the fourth through the sixth innings. The right-hander threw on Tuesday, surrendering four runs on three hits over one-plus inning.
With its non-conference schedule now complete, K-State returns to conference action on Friday when it plays at Oklahoma at 6 p.m. to start a three-game series.