MANHATTAN, Kan. - Grand slam home runs in back-to-back innings fueled a pair of five-run frames as No. 20 Kansas State topped Nebraska, 13-5, Saturday afternoon in front of 2,943 fans at Tointon Family Stadium.
K-State evened the weekend series at 1-1 with the win while improving to 22-6 overall and 5-3 in Big 12 play. Nebraska dropped to 16-15 overall and 4-7 in conference action.
Tied 3-3 in the fifth, Kansas State came out swinging. Nick Martini led off with a double and scored when Daniel Dellasega dropped a hit into left field. Kent Urban followed with a single through the right side before Mike Kindel walked to load the bases. Matt Giller, who came close to hitting a grand slam in his previous at-bat in the third inning, didn't miss on his next opportunity as he belted a 2-2 pitch over the wall in right-center field to give K-State a commanding 8-3 advantage.
The Wildcats repeated the feat in the sixth after the Huskers scored a run to cut the lead to 8-4. A walk, a single and an error loaded the bases for Urban. The Seward, Neb., product blasted the second grand slam of the day over the center-field wall to build the lead to 12-4. Adam Muenster capped the scoring when he doubled to score Giller and put the game away.
The grand slams by Giller and Urban were the first of their careers, while it was the first time K-State has hit two grand slams in one game under head coach Brad Hill. The homers marked the first grand slam since Justin Bloxom hit one against Butler last season on March 14.
"We got the big hit with runners in scoring position," Hill said comparing Friday night's loss to Saturday's outcome. "We had a better plan for ourselves today and had better swings. We swung aggressively and didn't swing at what we thought was coming."
Martini and Giller paced the K-State offense with three hits. Dellasega and Urban each tied their career-high with four RBI, while Giller's four RBI were a career-best.
With a fifth-inning double, Martini extended his hitting streak to 25 games to tie the school record held by Chris Hess between the 1995 and 1996 seasons. The streak is also tied for the fifth-longest in Big 12 history.
K-State starter Kyle Hunter (6-0) earned his sixth win in eight tries this year as the left-hander allowed four runs on seven hits in five-plus innings of work. Hunter's only blemishes came by way of a trio of solo-home runs and a leadoff triple in the fifth, which eventually scored on a sacrifice fly after he exited the game.
Reliever James Allen was strong in another extended outing, pitching 2.2 innings and allowing one run on two hits with a pair of strikeouts.
Nebraska starting pitcher Khris Tate (2-1) took the loss, surrendering four runs on five hits with four walks and two strikeouts in four-plus innings.
Nebraska jumped out in front by way of a home run for the second-straight day when Chad Christensen belted a second-inning solo shot over the left-field wall.
K-State took its first lead of the series in the third inning. Jake Brown laced a one-out double down the left-field line and stole third base as Muenster drew a walk. Muenster then stole second and Martini was hit by a pitch to load the bases. With two outs, Dellasega smashed a 1-2 pitch into the gap in right-center field, clearing the bases and giving the Wildcats a 3-1 lead.
Nebraska got one of the runs back in the fourth as Cade Thompson lifted a home run over the right-field wall. An inning later, Adam Bailey hit his third home run of the series to tie the game at 3-3. Christensen, DJ Belfonte and Cody Asche led the Huskers with two hits apiece, while Thompson drove in a team-high three runs.
The rubber match of the three-game series between Kansas State and Nebraska is set for 1 p.m., Sunday at Tointon Family Stadium.