OMAHA, Neb. – Behind 11 hits and eight runs from its offense and three no-hit innings from freshman reliever Ethan Landon, the K-State baseball team staved off Creighton for an 8-5 win on Saturday at TD Ameritrade Park.
Freshman Tanner DeVinny drove in three runs to match his career-high while senior RJ Santigate drove in two runs to go with his game-high three hits to help power the K-State offense. The eight runs by K-State (16-10, 1-2 Big 12) were its most in a road game since it scored nine on February 21 at Saint Mary’s.
“The focus was so much better today,” said K-State head coach Brad Hill. “Offensively, we kept coming back and coming back. Tanner DeVinny had a couple big hits. RJ Santigate fought a ball off [in the eighth inning] to get a huge hit for us that took off some pressure. We just kept punching them back.”
Landon used his three scoreless innings to earn his first career save. The right-hander inherited a runner in the seventh, but he went on to strand the Creighton (12-8-1, 0-0 BIG EAST) player and finished the outing with two strikeouts and no walks.
“[Ethan] Landon was outstanding,” said Hill. “He came in, wanted the ball, filled up the zone, and attacked the hitters.”
K-State plated a run quickly in the game when DeVinny came through with a two-strike, two-out RBI single to score Austin Fisher in the first inning. Fisher began the rally with a two-strike, two-out single.
Santigate drove in his first run of the game in the third inning with a single to center field that plated Shane Conlon, but Creighton answered right back in the bottom half of the third with an RBI single from Nicky Lopez.
The two sides went on to also exchange runs in the fourth through sixth innings, with K-State scoring one in the fourth, two in the fifth and one in the sixth. Creighton, meanwhile, responded with one run in the fourth and fifth innings and two runs in the sixth. The pair of Creighton runs in the bottom of the sixth closed the K-State lead to 6-5.
Grasping the one-run advantage, K-State scored two insurance runs in the eighth. Ross Kivett laced a double down the left field line with one out in the eighth, and he was followed by back-to-back walks from Conlon and Fisher to load the bases. Santigate then drove in his second run with a single to center field on a 2-2 count that made it 7-5 Wildcats. Creighton reliever Nick Highberger entered the game following Santigate’s at-bat, but he allowed a sacrifice fly to DeVinny that scored Conlon.
Kivett, Fisher, Santigate, and DeVinny each had multi-hit efforts, combining for nine of the Wildcats’ 11 base hits. With the addition of Conlon’s one hit, the first five hitters in the K-State lineup combined for 10 hits. Carter Yagi, the eighth hitter, had the other remaining hit for the Wildcats, a single in the fourth inning.
Kivett, Santigate, and DeVinny each extended their hitting streaks. Kivett now has a hit in his last 12 games while Santigate’s and DeVinny’s hitting streaks sit at 11 games.
Blair DeBord drew two walks, including a bases-loaded base on balls in the two-run K-State fifth. Fisher also had two walks as the Wildcats had eight free passes total.
Despite giving up five runs on six hits and three walks in five-plus innings, senior Jared Moore picked up the winning decision. It was the southpaw’s fifth win of the year.
Creighton starting pitcher Austin Groth suffered the loss after he surrendered five runs, seven hits, and three walks in 4 1/3 innings.
The win improves K-State’s record to 3-8 in road games this season.
The Wildcats and Bluejays will meet in the series’ rubber game on Sunday, March 30. First pitch is set for 1 pm at TD Ameritrade Park.