Feb. 26, 2011
CONWAY, S.C. – A three-run home run by Jason King in the sixth inning gave Kansas State all the momentum it needed to earn a 6-2 victory Saturday afternoon over Pacific at Watson Stadium in the Baseball at the Beach tournament.
With the victory, Kansas State improved to 5-1 on the season, including a four-game season sweep of the Tigers, who dropped to 0-5 on the year.
King, who hit his first home run since 2009 after missing all of last season with an injury, belted the first pitch he saw in the sixth from Pacific starter Paul Moeller (0-1) to turn a 2-1 lead into a four-run advantage.
“Jason just keeps swinging,” head coach Brad Hill said. “He wants to do so well, so bad that he hurts himself sometimes. I’m so happy for him to get a big hit right there. That was huge, gave us a cushion and took a lot of pressure off our pitching. Jason got a good, aggressive swing on the ball and got it out of here for the three-run homer.”
King’s homer came after Tanner Witt walked and Ryan Moore was hit by a pitch, two of 10 free passes surrendered by Tiger pitchers.
The Wildcats received a great performance from starting pitcher Justin Lindsey, who picked up the win in a predetermined pitch-count start in his first appearance of the season. The junior right-hander, who had been ill earlier on the road trip, allowed a run in the first inning on a two-out single by Matt Carvutto, but settled down to allow just one more hit over the next three frames.
“It’s all about our guys attacking the zone,” Hill said of Lindsey. “The first inning has been a nemesis of his. I thought he struggled in the first and really found it later. (Pitching Coach) Josh (Reynolds) talked to him between innings and got him going. Justin then got really aggressive. The kid has been sick for a couple of days and gave us a really good start.”
Tyler Sturges followed Lindsey out of the bullpen to pitch three scoreless innings, surrendering two hits with a pair of walks and a strikeout. Freshman left-hander Blake Freeman worked the final six outs, allowing an unearned run on two hits with one strikeout.
Matt Giller had two of Kansas State’s six hits in the contest and scored a run after starting the season 0-for-7 at the plate.
After Pacific scored in the bottom of the first, the Cats grabbed the lead in the top of the second, scoring two runs without recording a base hit. King and Giller were hit by Moeller in consecutive at-bats to lead off the frame before Kent Urban moved both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt.
Freshman designated hitter Ross Kivett, who earned his first career start, drove in King with a ground out, then Moeller uncorked a wild pitch to bring Giller across for the second run.
K-State also plated one in the seventh when Mike Kindel recorded a pinch-hit RBI single to score Chase Graskewicz to push the Cats' lead to 6-1.
The Wildcats conclude play at the Baseball at the Beach tournament on Sunday as they take on No. 17 California. The game, which is scheduled for a 10 a.m. (CT) first pitch, can be heard in its entirety in the Manhattan area on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN and online at both www.k-statesports.com and www.1350kman.com.