The Wildcats used strong pitching and great offensive performance to shut out the Northern Colorado Bears 11-0 on Tuesday night at Tointon Family Stadium, improving their record to 10-5 on the season.
After the game, K-State head coach Brad Hill talked about the importance of getting the first win in the series.
“It’s a big win, it’s a good win for us,” Hill said.
Senior starter Jake Doller improved to 2-0 on the season, tossing a career-high seven innings of shutout ball, striking out six while walking one. The righty allowed just one hit, a leadoff double in the fourth. Doller was followed by freshman Landon Busch, who pitched two scoreless innings to finish the game, striking out five and walking one while allowing no hits. The two combined for 11 strikeouts compared to just one walk on the night.
It was the second great start by Doller this season, who pitched five scoreless innings last Tuesday against Niagara. In his two midweek starts this season, he is 2-0 with 12 scoreless innings, 12 strikeouts, five hits allowed and two walks.
“It was a great start obviously. He had the leadoff double, and even pitches through that, tremendous job,” Hill said of Doller’s start. “That’s two back-to-back really quality starts and just a super job by him.”
The offense came out hot in the first inning, putting up four quick runs, and never looking back. Sophomore second baseman Ross Kivett started the game with a leadoff single and proceeded to steal second and third base. Sophomore Shane Conlon stepped in the batter’s box next and slugged a two-run homer to extend his hitting streak to 15 games. The first baseman finished the game with two hits, and the homer was his third on the season. Senior right fielder Jon Davis also had two hits, including his team-leading fourth home run this season in the fifth inning.
“In the first inning, I thought Ross got us off to a great start, and then Shane follows it up with a big two-run homer, but Ross had a base hit, stole a base, stole a base, pressure goes on them right away, then Shane gets the big hit,” said Hill of the outburst of runs in the first inning.
For the Bears, starting pitcher Nick Miller was pulled after K-State’s big first inning, and center fielder Dylan Banach had the team’s only hit on the night, while the defense committed two costly errors.
K-State finishes the two-game series against Northern Colorado tomorrow at 3 p.m. Freshman Blake McFadden will get the start for the Wildcats after pitching five innings with one earned run last Wednesday in a win over Niagara.