March 11, 2011
MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State junior pitcher Kyle Hunter struck out a career-high 12 batters and the Wildcats set a school record with 12 stolen bases as K-State topped Long Island, 14-2, in the series opener Friday afternoon at Tointon Family Stadium.
With the win, K-State moved to 10-2 on the season, including a 5-0 record at home, while the Blackbirds fell to 3-5.
Hunter (2-0) worked seven innings, allowing one run on three hits with a walk to go along with his 12 strikeouts. He bettered his previous career high of eight strikeouts set just one week ago, while equaling the most in a game since A.J. Morris also had 12 against Oklahoma in 2009.
Hunter fanned 10 of the first 11 batters he faced and did not surrender a hit or a walk through 4.2 innings. In the first five innings, Hunter faced just two over the minimum as he walked a batter with two outs in the fifth before a line out ended the inning.
Hunter now has 27 strikeouts over his last three outings, the most over three starts since Morris totaled 28 two years ago.
"That was an impressive outing by Kyle," head coach Brad Hill said. "The biggest thing is that he was able to attack the strike zone and then expand and to go to work from there. It was a good performance by him and he showed great focus throughout the game."
Combined with three strikeouts from freshman left-hander Jared Moore over the final two innings, K-State struck out 15 Long Island batters in the contest. The Wildcats have at least 10 in four games this year, while they have combined for 31 in the past two games.
Kansas State set its school record in steals when Jake Brown swiped second base in the seventh inning, bettering 10-steal contests against Creighton in 1979 and Chicago State last year. Brown also tied an indvidual record with four steals in the contest, the most since Nate Tenbrink had four against LeMoyne in 2008.
The Cats equaled their season highs in runs and hits, thanks to a five-run seventh inning and six errors by the Blackbirds.
"Stolen bases really came into play today," Hill said. "I thought we did a great job in the running game. We put a lot of pressure on their pitchers and infielders. They were forced to move around and it created a lot of good pitches for us to hit."
Nick Martini and Mike Kindel combined to go 7-for-8 with six RBI and six runs scored. Martini, who was 4-for-4 with two RBI, four runs scored and a pair of steals, was a home run away from the cycle after a single, double and triple in his first three plate appearances, respectively. He also extended his nation-leading streak of consecutive games reaching base to 72 games.
Kindel, who set Wildcat season-highs with three steals and four RBI, was 3-for-4. He recorded a two-run double in the seventh inning, while he walked and stole both second and third base two innings prior.
Mitch Meyer, who entered the game in the sixth inning as a pinch hitter, also registered a multi-hit contest with a double in the sixth and a two-RBI single in the seventh.
Long Island starting pitcher Adam Sauter (1-2) took the loss after surrendering eight runs, only four of which were earned, on 10 hits in 4.2 innings.
K-State scored two in the third inning on RBI hits from Martini and Kindel before pushing across three runs the next frame on run-scoring singles from Brown and Jared King, and a double by Martini.
After plating two in the fifth and one in the sixth, K-State sent 13 men to the plate in its five-run seventh inning. Consecutive two-RBI hits from Kindel and Meyer were the big blows in the frame, while King added a run-scoring single.
Kansas State and Long Island continue their four-game series with a double-header Saturday. First pitch for game one is scheduled for 12 p.m. To purchase season or single-game tickets, visit the K-State Athletics Ticket office online at www.k-statesports.com/tickets, the Tointon Family Stadium box office or order by phone at (800) 221-CATS.
A live webcast of the Saturday's double-header as well as Sunday's series finale, is available through K-State's multimedia channel, K-State All-Access at www.k-statesports.com. The site also offers free live audio of the action, while listeners in the Manhattan area can hear the final three games of the series on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN.