Wildcats Battle Back for 13-10 Victory
LINCOLN, Neb. – Nebraska scored eight unanswered runs to erase a seven-run deficit, but Kansas State plated the next five runs of the contest to earn a season sweep of the Huskers with a 13-10 victory Wednesday evening at Hawks Field.
K-State, which improved to 29-13 in the year, swept Nebraska for the second time in four years and avenged a sweep at the hands of the Huskers in 2012. NU dropped below .500 at 19-20 with the loss.
The Wildcats jumped out of the gate with eight runs over the first two innings, including a five-run second inning that featured a two-RBI Jared King double.
Nebraska, which scored a run in the first inning, added three runs in the second, one in the fourth and five more in the fifth inning to gain a 9-8 edge. The frame was highlighted by a two-run triple by Kash Kalkowski, which was followed by a RBI single by Blake Headley to take the lead.
However, the back-and-forth game continued as Kansas State came right back in the top of the seventh with three runs, including a go-ahead RBI single by RJ Santigate that gave the Cats the lead for good.
“Give a lot of credit to our kids tonight,” head coach Brad Hill said. “It’s not easy to see a seven-run lead evaporate and then come back. Our guys showed resiliency in coming back, particularly from an offensive standpoint. The guys really stepped up tonight.”
Santigate and King each went 3-for-5 with three RBI. King’s performance improved his hitting streak to a career-long 15 games as he is 24-for-53 with 19 RBI during that stretch. Santigate recorded his most hits in a game since March 22 against Bethune-Cookman, while his three RBI was one shy of his season-high.
Jon Davis also had three RBI in the contest. Tanner Witt, Shane Conlon and Austin Fisher each recorded two-hit games. Witt tallied his team-leading 20th multi-hit game of the year, while Davis and King each pushed their multi-RBI game total to a team-leading eight.
Hayden Nixon (2-0) was credited with the win after recording the final two outs of the four-run Husker fifth. However, Joe Flattery – who worked just his second career game out of the bullpen – slammed the door on Nebraska by tossing two scoreless innings with one hit and three strikeouts.
“That was a big confidence boost for him,” Hill said. “For us to be successful the next four weeks, we’re going to need Joe Flattery and Nate Williams. Those guys are going to need to get better and improve. We’ve saw some progress tonight.”
Nebraska relief pitcher Tyler King (1-4) suffered the loss after allowing two runs without recording an out in the sixth inning. He entered the game with one out and a runner on first base, but the left-hander hit Fisher and allowed the run-scoring hits to Davis and Santigate.
The Huskers were led offensively by Kalkowski’s three-hit, two-RBI contest. Four other Huskers recorded two-hit games, while three drove in two runs.
Kansas State returns home for a three-game series against TCU, Friday through Sunday, at Tointon Family Stadium. Friday’s game, which begins at 6:30 p.m., is Military Appreciation Night, while a pregame tailgate will be held 60 minutes prior to first pitch on both Friday and Saturday. Saturday’s game begins at 4 p.m., following the Purple/White Spring Game, and Sunday’s series finale is scheduled for an 11 a.m., first pitch.
Friday’s game can be seen exclusively on K-StateHD.TV and heard on the K-State Sports Network. Saturday’s contest will be shown state-wide on Cox Communications’ Kansas 22 and in the Kansas City area on MetroSports. The final two games can be heard in the Manhattan area on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN, while free live audio of the entire series is available online at both www.k-statesports.com and www.1350kman.com.