Baseball team loses another to start tournament

Photo by Parker Robb | The Collegian K-State batter Shane Conlon takes a few steps from first base, preparing to run, as the Texas Tech pitcher winds up, during the ninth inning of the Wildcats' first game of the series against Texas Tech last season at Tointon Family Stadium. The Wildcats defeated the Red Raiders in a walk-off victory, winning 6-5.

Considering this year’s Groundhog Day predicted six more weeks of winter, there are K-State students that would probably welcome a trip to California to escape Kansas’ harsh weather. The Wildcat baseball team, however, found Moraga, Calif. to be a cold place due to a 5-2 loss to the Portland Pilots on Thursday in the Gael Invitational at Louis Guisto Field.

The loss prolongs the Wildcats’ season-opening losing streak to five games.

In his second start as the team’s number one starter this year, sophomore Levi MaVorhis pitched six innings, allowing all five Portland runs off six hits, striking out three and walking one.

On offense, junior Austin Fisher and freshman Tanner DeVinny led the team with two hits apiece, and both were involved in the Wildcats’ only scoring of the day during a two-run fourth. After a lead-off walk by senior Shane Conlon, Fisher reached base on a single, and DeVinny’s double brought home Conlon. Fisher was brought across the plate by junior Mitch Meyer’s sacrifice fly a couple plays later.

Up next for K-State is a 4 p.m. invitational game against Saint Mary’s (2-3) as senior Jared Moore takes the mound. Moore gave up three runs in 5.1 innings last weekend against Cal Poly, and will be looking to deliver a gem to give K-State its much coveted first win of the season.

The Wildcats will take on Saint Mary’s again on Sunday, as sophomore Landon Busch is expected to take the mound for the first pitch at noon.

On Saturday, sophomore Jordan Witcig will get the start against UC Davis (1-4) at noon. Witcig struggled mightily in his last start, allowing four runs – three earned – in 2.1 innings as Cal Poly completed a sweep over K-State on Sunday.

A team that relied on offense heavily last year, the Wildcats have struggled to get their bats going early this season, hitting just .173 as a team. Fisher is the only player hitting above .300, with a .357 batting average, and the team has just four extra base hits in its five games so far. However, the pitching staff has not fared much better, with a cumulative 5.23 ERA.

By comparison, opposing teams have hit .313 off K-State and opposing pitchers have racked up a 1.80 ERA against Wildcat hitters.

K-State needs to bag a few wins now during the tournament, so that they aren’t still looking for their first during their home opener against Milwaukee next weekend.