MANHATTAN, Kan. – Ross Kivett became the first Wildcat to hit for the cycle in nearly 17 years as the senior helped lead the K-State baseball team to a 12-6 win over Nebraska on Wednesday at Tointon Family Stadium.
Kivett led off the bottom of the first inning with a home run, and hit a triple in the second, a double in the third, and a single in the sixth, his fifth at-bat of the night, to complete the cycle. Kivett is the first K-State player to hit for the cycle since Heath Schesser on April 30, 1997 and third since 1992. Craig Wilson (Feb. 29, 1992) was the first Wildcat to hit for the cycle.
“[Kivett] is a special player and tonight was a special night for him,” said K-State head coach Brad Hill. “He got us off to a great start offensively. I think we had a great offensive approach tonight and I was really proud of what we did. ”
Kivett’s team-high four hits helped the Wildcats (15-9, 1-2 Big 12) tally 16 hits, their 13th double-digit hit game of the year. Blair DeBord added a season-high three hits while Shane Conlon and Austin Fisher each had two hits.
The win improves the Wildcats’ record to 10-0 at home this season. K-State has won 21 straight against nonconference opponents in Manhattan as well as four straight overall against Nebraska (14-10, 1-2 Big Ten).
Kivett’s homer in the first inning, the first leadoff home run by a Wildcat since Jordan Cruz on February 22, 2008 at California, helped K-State answer Nebraska’s one run in the top half of the frame. Tyler Stover gave the Wildcats a 2-1 lead in the first with an RBI single to score Conlon.
The Wildcats broke out for six runs in the second, sending 11 batters to the plate. Kivett and Conlon had back-to-back triples in the inning, with Kivett’s three-base hit driving in a pair of runs while Conlon plated Kivett with his triple. Fisher and DeBord contributed to the crooked frame with an RBI single and two-run single, respectively.
After Kivett scored the lone run in the third on a throwing error by Nebraska centerfielder Ryan Boldt, K-State plated two runs in the fifth to make it 11-2 Wildcats. Fisher hit into a fielder’s choice after Nebraska shortstop Steven Reveles bobbled a throw at second base trying to turn a double play, allowing Clayton Dalrymple to score. RJ Santigate followed that up with an RBI single into center field to score Conlon.
In the seventh, an RBI fielder’s choice by pinch hitter Max Brown allowed Fisher to cross home and make it a 12-2 K-State advantage.
K-State starting pitcher Colton Kalmus earned the win in his second straight start after he held the Cornhuskers to two runs, one earned, in a career-high five innings pitched. The right-hander struck out three, and scattered seven hits and a walk.
“I just thought [Kalmus] did a great job for us,” said Hill. “He commanded what he was doing with his composure and toughness, especially with him being a redshirt freshman and coming out here with the wind howling 35 miles an hour.”
Jordan Floyd threw two shutout innings in relief of Kalmus while Ethan Landon chipped in a scoreless frame in the eighth.
Nebraska scored four runs on four hits in the ninth inning off K-State reliever Jake Whaley. The right-hander registered two strikeouts in his one inning pitched.
Nebraska’s starting pitcher Ben Miller allowed six runs on six hits and one walk in 1 1/3 innings to suffer the losing decision, his first of the year.
The first three hitters in the K-State lineup combined to score eight runs. Kivett and Conlon each had three runs scored.
Every starting position player for K-State reached base safely at least once.
The Wildcats head to Omaha, Neb. for a three-game set at Creighton. Game one of the series at TD Ameritrade Park is slated for Friday, March 28 at 6:30 pm.