SHREVEPORT, La. Kansas State used a three-run rally in the eighth inning to take game one over Centenary and followed with a strong pitching performance from Chase Bayuk as the Wildcats swept a doubleheader with the Gents and Penn State Nittany Lions, 6-5 and 4-1, Saturday at Sheehee Stadium. With the two wins, the Wildcats improved to 3-0 on the season, marking the first time under fourth-year head coach Brad Hill that the Cats won their first three games of the season.
Down 5-3 in the eighth of game one, Kansas State erupted for three runs to take the lead as six straight hits to begin the frame led to a 6-5 advantage. Derek Bunker dropped a pinch-hit double to right center to plate the first run of the inning, while singles from Eli Rumler and Rob Vaughn gave the Wildcats the 6-5 lead.
Junior Daniel Edwards came in and retired the six batters he faced in order to record his first save of the season. Freshman A.J. Morris (1-0) earned the win in relief in his first career appearance after throwing 3.0 innings of two-hit, scoreless baseball.
Starter Ben Hornbeck was effective early, recording four early strikeouts, before giving up five runs in the third inning. The sophomore went 4.0 innings and gave up seven hits on the day.
Kansas State struck first in the top of the third as Eddie Vasquez led off with a single to left and moved to second on an Adam Muenster sacrifice bunt. After Tyler Ruch grounded to first, which allowed Vasquez to move to third, Byron Wiley dropped a single into center to plate Vasquez for a 1-0 Wildcat lead.
But, Centenary (4-5) answered as nine men came to plate in the bottom of the third and five of them scored as the Gents took a 5-1 lead with five hits in the inning off Hornbeck.
The Wildcats got two runs back in the top of the fourth as Vasquez’s two-out single to left plated Rob Vaughn and Jordan Cruz to make the score 5-3 in favor of the Gents.
Vasquez led the way in game one with a perfect 4-for-4 day, while Wiley added three hits in five at-bats.
In the nightcap against Penn State (0-3), the Wildcats plated two early runs in the top of the first after sacrifice flies from Nate Tenbrink and Tyler Link to take a 2-0 advantage. Drew Biery’s two-run single in the second pushed the lead to 4-0.
That would be all the K-State pitching staff needed as starting pitcher Chase Bayuk moved to 1-0 on the year after scattering one run on five hits with six strikeouts. Relievers Todd Vogel, Tyler Ruch and Trevor Hurley, who earned the save, each tossed scoreless innings to finish the game.
Catcher Daniel Dellasega, in his first career start, went 2-for-4, while Derek Bunker had two hits and scored two runs in the win.
The Wildcats will conclude play in Shreveport Sunday with a 1 p.m. game against Centenary.