From K-State Sports
K-State starter Kasey Ford struck out seven over 5 1/3 innings while Dylan Phillips had a three-night, helping the Wildcats earn a series split with a 9-2 victory over UT Rio Grande Valley Monday night at UTRGV Baseball Stadium.
Ford, a senior, turned in his highest strikeout total since striking out 10 during the 2018 season. In earning the win, the 6-foot-6 righty did not surrender a base hit until the fourth inning, as he scattered just two hits in his outing and allowed one earned run.
“No one wants to have success in a Kansas State uniform more than that kid,” head coach Pete Hughes said of Ford. “He’s paid the price to have an outing like that. We needed him in game four of the series and he gave us a quality outing when it was such an offensive night with the wind blowing out, he pitched awesome. They just weren’t seeing his fastball; it was too much for them.
“Good team win tonight, I thought we played good team defense over the last four days. Kasey set the tone and got us going.”
K-State (2-2) handed Ford a nine-run lead and jumped out to a 5-0 lead after three innings. The Wildcats produced season highs in both runs and hits (10), spearheaded by Dylan Phillips’ three hits and three runs batted in.
Cameron Thompson highlighted the Cats’ three-run first inning with his RBI double. Zach Kokoska chipped in a run-scoring single before Phillips laced his first RBI of the night. K-State tallied four base hits and brought eight to the plate in the opening frame, chasing UTRGV (2-2) starter Landon Staats.
Staats lasted just one inning after allowing three earned on four hits and a walk in being tagged with the loss.
Terrence Spurlin pushed an 0-2 pitch down the right field line with two outs to bring in Chris Ceballos and Kokoska, extending the Wildcat lead to 5-0 after the top of the third. K-State was aided by a UTRGV error in the third.
Kokoska walked twice and scored a career-high four times.
Phillips knocked RBI singles in both the fifth and sixth innings, with his latest single capping a three-run sixth. The Cats took advantage of two Vaquero errors in the inning in opening a 9-0 lead.
Zak Herbers took over for Ford in the sixth, finishing with five strikeouts over 3 2/3. Herbers, a junior making his Wildcat debut, earned the save after allowing one earned run on three hits.
Ford and Herbers held UTRGV to 2 for 14 with runners on base and 1 for 8 with two outs. No Vaquero turned in a multi-hit game.
K-State finished 8 for 19 with runners on base.