(Courtesy: K-State Athletics)
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Kansas State plated nine runs over the first five innings and pounded out seven extra-base hits en route to an 11-4 victory at Iowa Saturday afternoon at Duane Banks Field.
The Wildcats, who collected their second-most hits of the year with 17, improved to 25-11 on the year and have won 13 of their last 16 games. Iowa fell to 12-17 with the loss.
A day after scoring just one run on seven hits, K-State came out with a vengeance on Saturday by scoring three runs in both the first and second innings. Shane Conlon began things with his team-leading seventh home run of the year, a two-run shot to right field, before the third run scored on an error.
Blair DeBord doubled home a run in the second inning as part of a 2-for-4, two-RBI day. Ross Kivett hit a RBI triple down the right-field line and Tanner Witt followed with a run-scoring single to cap the three-run second. DeBord also added a sacrifice fly in the third inning as K-State extended its lead to 7-0.
“That’s the way you would hope they would respond after yesterday,” head coach Brad Hill said of his offense. “Guys took charge today and got us off to a great start offensively.
“Those guys are so good at the top when they’re locked into their game and do what they need to do,” Hill continued about Kivett and Witt. “They set the table for us, which makes it easier for Shane and those guys behind them to hit.”
Kivett, who tied his career high with four hits, was a home run shy of the cycle as he collected his team-leading 17th multi-hit game of the year. Kivett registered the first of two Wildcat triples on the day as Jon Davis, who went 2-for-4, tripled and scored in the seventh inning. Kansas State pushed its season total in triples to 19, moving within two of the school’s top-10 list.
Witt earned his 15th multi-hit contest this season by going 3-for-5. DeBord, Mitch Meyer and Jared King also tallied multi-hit games with two apiece. Meyer hit his second home run of the year, a towering solo shot to right field in the fifth inning, before singling home a run in the seventh.
K-State starting pitcher Matt Wivinis could only last three-plus innings despite being given a seven-run lead. The right-hander surrendered two third-inning runs and allowed the first two Iowa hitters in the fourth inning to reach base.
Junior left-hander Jared Moore (2-0) came out of the K-State bullpen and allowed both runners to score on a single by Anthony Torres, but he proceeded to face the minimum over the next 2.2 innings en route to his second win in the last three outings.
“We didn’t get another good start (on the mound), but we had a couple guys come in after that,” Hill said. “Jared Moore came in and gave us three zeros.”
Moore surrendered a leadoff triple in the seventh inning before producing a fly-ball out. Gerardo Esquivel followed with back-to-back strikeouts to keep the Hawkeyes off the board. The right-hander, who tossed two scoreless innings with three strikeouts on Friday, also threw a scoreless eighth inning before Nate Williams finished off the game by facing the minimum in the ninth.
Iowa starting pitcher Andrew Hanse (2-2) suffered the loss, surrendering seven runs (six earned) on eight hits with a walk in 2.1 innings. Torres led the Hawkeyes with two hits and two RBI.
The Wildcats and Hawkeyes have changed the schedule for Sunday’s series finale. The rubber match, which was set to begin at approximately 4 p.m., at Principal Park in Des Moines, will now be played at Duane Banks Field beginning at 12:05 p.m.