The K-State baseball team opened their 2013 season with two wins in the Citadel Memorial Challenge in Charleston, S.C. Strong pitching on Friday and an offensive comeback on Sunday provided the Wildcats with their first two wins on the season, while shaky pitching on Saturday handed the Cats their first loss.
Sophomore Nate Williams took the mound for K-State on Friday evening against High Point University, and threw six strong innings in his first start after serving as the team’s closer for most of last year. The right-hander gave up one run in the first inning, but was supported by the Wildcat bullpen to keep High Point off the board for the rest of the game. Williams allowed five hits, striking out six and walking one on the day.
K-State’s offense waited until the seventh inning to get rolling, but scored five runs over the final three frames to capture the team’s first win. The Wildcats’ scoring started with a lead-off single in the seventh by senior left fielder Tanner Witt, who scored on a triple off the bat of junior center fielder Jared King.
Junior second baseman Ross Kivett singled King home to give the Wildcats a 2-1 lead. The final runs came off of sophomore shortstop Austin Fisher’s first career home run in the ninth inning, and a two-run single by senior designated hitter Jon Davis, giving the Wildcats a 5-1 victory.
While K-State’s pitching was a strength on Friday, it became a weakness on Saturday, as senior starter Joe Flattery struggled in his first start of the season and the Wildcats fell to the Bulldogs of The Citadel, 10-8. A six-run third inning by the Bulldogs followed a one-run first, and it proved to be too much to overcome. The Bulldogs scored three more times, one run each in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings.
K-State did mount a comeback, bringing the game to within two runs after trailing by as much as seven in the fourth inning. The Wildcats brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning, but could not get it done after scoring two in the fifth, three in the sixth and two more in the ninth as part of their comeback. K-State also had one run in the third.
King led the offense for K-State, collecting two hits and driving three runs, while junior third baseman RJ Santigate led the team with four hits.
K-State once again fell behind on Sunday, but this time they completed a rally to win the game 7-6 over George Mason University. The Wildcats got a three-run seventh inning thanks to a two-run homer by Davis and an RBI single by Fisher, capping a rally from a three-run deficit after the fourth inning. Davis led the team offensively with three hits.
Sophomore Matt Wivinis had an up-and-down first start to the season, allowing six runs in four innings, while striking out seven. Freshman pitchers Hayden Nixon and Jake Matthys combined to throw four scoreless innings, while Witt recorded the save by striking out the side in the ninth.
K-State will play next weekend in Myrtle Beach, S.C., in the Caravelle Resort Tournament before starting off a 19-game home stand in March.