MANHATTAN, Kan. Kansas State blasted three home runs and tallied double-digit runs for the 13th time this season as the 21st-ranked Wildcats defeated Wichita State, 13-5, Tuesday night before a season-high crowd of 2,416 at Tointon Family Stadium.
With the victory, K-State improved to 27-9 on the season, surpassing the 1976 squad for the best start in the school history. Wichita State fell to 20-14 with the loss.
The 13 runs by the Wildcats were the most against Wichita State since they pushed across 18 in a win on May 3, 2000.
“We just need to keep going,” said Coach Brad Hill. “We need to have a good approach again tomorrow night. It will be a much different atmosphere with 4,000 or 5,000 fans (in Wichita). It will be more of a hostile crowd and we just need to keep our focus and keep doing what we’re doing.”
Kansas State received home runs from Drew Biery, Rob Vaughn and Jordan Cruz for its seventh multi-homer game of the year and the first since March 24 against Northwestern. Biery and Cruz each hit their sixth home run, tops on the squad.
Carter Jurica and Justin Bloxom each finished 3-for-5 with three RBI, while Jurica scored a pair of runs. Bloxom nearly missed K-State’s fourth homer of the night with a triple off the wall in deep center field. Vaughn finished the night 2-for-2.
Freshman starter Kayvon Bahramzadeh was efficient in his sixth start of the year, allowing two runs on four hits with a pair of walks and six strikeouts. However, the Tucson, Ariz., product did not factor into the decision as the right-hander left the game due to injury after 4.2 innings.
Another freshman, Evan Marshall (1-2) was awarded his first career win as the first effective reliever out of the pen, getting K-State out of a jam in the sixth. The right-hander did not allow a hit in two-thirds of an inning.
“We’ve put Evan in that situation a lot and it’s always paid off,” Hill said. “He’s real good about not allowing a run when we put him in there with runners on base.”
Kyle Hunter, K-State’s fourth freshman pitcher of the evening, picked up his first career save, allowing one run on four hits with two strikeouts in three innings.
Second baseman Will Baez led Wichita State at the plate as he went 3-for-3 with one RBI. Clinton McKeever and Bret Bascue each went 2-for-4, with McKeever driving in one run.
Wichita State jumped on top early as Tyler Grimes led off the game with a home run, his fourth of the year. However, Bahramzadeh settled down and retired the next three batters to get out of the inning without further damage.
The Wildcats countered in a big way in their half of the first as consecutive singles by Jurica and Nick Martini put runners on first and third. Following a strikeout, Jason King singled through the right side of the infield to tie the game at 1-1.
Biery was next and on the first pitch he hammered a ball over the left-field wall for a three-run homer to give K-State a 4-1 advantage, one the Cats would never relinquish.
K-State got on the board in the next inning when Vaughn blasted the first pitch of the second over the left-field wall to extend the lead to 5-1. Following a walk to Dane Yelovich and a single by Adam Muenster, Martini hit a sacrifice fly to right for the second run of the inning. Bloxom then singled through the middle to push K-State’s lead to 7-1.
Kansas State added to its home run total in the third when Cruz rocketed a solo shot high over the trees beyond the right center-field wall to make the score 8-1.
Wichita State gained some life in the middle innings, scoring three runs over the fifth and sixth frames. Baez started the fifth with a single into left field. He stole second and moved to third when Vaughn’s throw went into center field for an error. Dustin Hobbs then uncorked a wild pitch to allow Baez to score.
In the sixth, McKeever reached on an infield single and moved to second when Chris O’Brien walked. Bascue then doubled into deep right-center field to plate one run. Following a line-out, which would be the end for Hobbs, Marshall came in and surrendered a sacrifice fly to Beaz to make the score 9-4.
That would be the closest the Shockers would get as Marshall forced a fly out to end the inning before Hunter sat down WSU in order in the seventh and eighth innings.
The K-State bats responded for its freshman pitchers, putting up four runs in the seventh. Cruz and Yelovich reached on a walk and a hit-by-pitch, respectively. Following a strikeout for the second out of the inning, Jurica laced a single into center field to score both runners.
Following a walk, Bloxom hammered a pitch off the wall in deep center field, scoring two and giving K-State its biggest lead at 13-4. The triple was the third of the season for Bloxom, who leads the Wildcats in that category.
and Wichita State
conclude their two-game midweek series in Wichita
with a 7 p.m., first pitch Wednesday at Eck Stadium.