IOWA CITY, Iowa – Blake McFadden tossed six solid innings with a career-best five strikeouts while Jared King recorded a season-high four hits, including his fourth home run of the year, as Kansas State defeated Iowa, 5-3, in the rubber match of a three-game series Sunday afternoon at Duane Banks Field.
With the win, the Wildcats improved to 26-11 on the season and continued their recent successful stretch of baseball by winning 16 of their last 20 games. The Hawkeyes fell to 12-18 with the loss.
McFadden, who made his sixth start of the year and second-consecutive weekend start, also set a career high in innings pitched while walking just one batter. The freshman right-hander surrendered three runs – only one of which scored with him on the mound – and allowed just four hits.
“I thought Blake was outstanding today,” head coach Brad Hill said. “He really attacked the zone with good pitches all the way around. He’s getting three pitches in the game too. He continues to make progress each week. His slider is getting better, and he got the changeup in the game today. When he starts becoming a three-pitch pitcher, that’s going to make him even more effective.”
Outside of a two-out RBI single by Eric Toole in the third inning, McFadden cruised his first two times through the Iowa order as he faced just three over the minimum in six innings.
The Savannah, Mo., product began the seventh inning on the mound with a 5-1 lead, but surrendered a leadoff infield single and a double that put runners in scoring position with no outs. K-State elected to bring in another freshman right-hander in Jake Matthys, who produced three ground-ball outs as the Wildcats conceded a pair of runs to avoid a big inning.
Matthys worked around a one-out hit-by-pitch in the eighth inning before Tanner Witt pitched a scoreless ninth with a strikeout for his fifth save of the year.
“Jake attacked the zone and got strikes,” Hill said. “It was disappointing offensively today, but give them (Iowa) credit. We just needed one or two more runs. We couldn’t get that big hit to put the game away.”
King went 4-for-5 in the contest and drove in two runs on his fifth-inning home run that gave K-State their four-run advantage. The junior also set a new career high with three stolen bases, finishing the weekend perfect in five attempts.
A product of Dublin, Ohio, King’s career-high tying four-hit performance capped a 7-for-12, four-RBI weekend.
Witt recorded his 16th multi-hit game of the year by going 2-for-5, including a two-out RBI triple in the second inning. It was K-State’s third triple of the series and 20th of the year. Jon Davis went 2-for-4, while Clayton Dalrymple was 2-for-2 with a RBI single in the fourth inning and his first-career stolen base.
Eight of the nine Wildcat starters recorded a hit in the contest as Kansas State finished the game with 14. Kansas State improved its team batting average by two points in the series – a mark that now stands at .333 – by producing 38 hits over the three games.
Iowa starting pitcher Sasha Kuebel (1-7) suffered the loss by allowing five runs on 11 hits in five innings of work. Reserve catcher Dan Sheppard and designated hitter Ryan Rumpf recorded the RBI ground outs in the seventh inning.
Hawkeye relief pitcher Ricky Sandquist kept Iowa in the game as the tossed four shutout innings with a walk and three strikeouts.
Kansas State continues its eight-game road trip at Wichita State Tuesday night with a 6:30 p.m., contest at Eck Stadium. The game will be shown on Cox Communications’ Kansas 22 and MetroSports in Kansas City. Listeners in the Manhattan area can hear the game on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN as well as online at both www.k-statesports.com and www.1350kman.com.