MANHATTAN, Kan. (Kstatesports.com) For the third time in the last five games, the K-State baseball team shut out its opponent as the Wildcats beat Air Force 4-0 on Wednesday at Tointon Family Stadium.
K-State (13-7) ended its first set of home games this season with a two-game sweep of Air Force (4-15) and a perfect 9-0 record over the course of the entire homestand, all of which help extend its winning streak to 12 games, which is tied for the second-longest in program history.
Led by starting pitcher Colton Kalmus, who did not allow a hit in 3 2/3 innings, the K-State pitching staff surrendered only two hits and three base runners total. Kalmus struck out four and walked one to help earn the win in his first career start.
"One walk that is the name of the game, and there was great defense in the outfield," said K-State head coach Brad Hill. "Ross [Kivett] made two or three really nice plays out there [in center field] that stopped some innings on them...Pitching was pretty much the name of the game."
Landon Busch, in his first relief outing since the season's first game on February 14, spelled Kalmus and surrendered the first Air Force hit of the game on a comebacker in the sixth inning. The southpaw finished with two strikeouts and one hit allowed in 2 1/3 innings.
Three other K-State relievers, Jake Fromson, Ethan Landon and Jake Matthys, each threw a scoreless inning, with Matthys tossing a perfect ninth frame on just six pitches.
The K-State offense got on the board in the third inning after Kivett drew a leadoff walk on four pitches from Air Force starting pitcher Steven Trojan. Kivett promptly swiped second base with his first of two steals on the day, and he was driven in by the next batter, Shane Conlon, with an RBI single to left field.
The Wildcats added a pair of runs in the sixth with a rally started by back-to-back one-out singles from Mitch Meyer and Tanner DeVinny. Meyer later scored on a throwing error by Air Force second baseman Adam Groesbeck as he was trying to turn a double play on a ground ball hit by Alex Bee. Bee later scored in the inning on Clayton Dalrymple's two-out RBI single to make it 3-0 K-State.
RJ Santigate also drove in a run with two outs when he hit a single in the seventh inning, plating Kivett and capping the game's scoring at 4-0.
"[Air Force's] pitching staff did a really nice job today," said Hill. "We had some big two-strike hits that kind of came through."
The Wildcats finished with 10 hits, their fifth straight game with double-digit hits. Over the 12-game winning streak, K-State is averaging over 12 hits per game (147 hits total).
Santigate, Meyer and Dalrymple each finished with two hits apiece. Kivett reached base a team-high three times with an infield single and two walks.
The three shutouts this season are the most for the Wildcats in a campaign since they had four in 2008.
K-State will carry its 12-game winning streak into the start of Big 12 play this weekend when it travels to Norman, Okla. to face Oklahoma. First pitch in game one of the three-game is set for 6 pm on Friday, March 21.