Three runs were all the Wildcats could conjur up on Tuesday evening in Tointon Family Stadium. That was all they would appear to need, however, as they defeated the Wichita State Shockers 3-2.
“We were hoping to get some momentum,” K-State head coach Brad Hill said. “That was a gutted out win tonight and we needed it really bad. I thought we fought really hard.”
The game got interesting down the stretch. With one out, the Shockers had the tying runner at third base and another runner at first. Wichita State sophomore outfielder Daniel Kihle got caught in a rundown and was tagged out at third giving the Shockers two outs. Junior first baseman Casey Gillaspie was then tagged out at third on a ground ball to end the game.
Sophomore pitcher Jake Matthys was responsible for getting the Wildcats out of the jam. He was credited with a save, pitching four innings while allowing no runs and striking out five batters.
“That was really good to see,” Hill said. “Really good stuff tonight, command of the zone, two seem had run in it again tonight. Great pitches in crucial situations.”
Matthys has struggled at times this season. He now has a season ERA of 7.41 and three saves in 12 appearances. Last season, Matthys was named the Big 12 freshman of the year. His 73 pitches against the Shockers was his second most in an outing during his K-State career thus far.
“It felt great,” Matthys said. “I’ve been struggling a little bit this year and it’s good to actually have some confidence in myself and get out there and have the coaches have confidence in me.”
The Wildcats had the bats going early, as senior third baseman RJ Santigate knocked in two runs to get the game started in the first inning after senior center fielder Ross Kivett singled to first and senior infielder Shane Conlon was hit by a pitch.
The Shockers would answer with one run of their own in the second inning before the Wildcats pushed it back to a two-run game in the third. Freshman designated hitter Tyler Stover would add the insurance run in the third inning, Conlon would come around to score.
The Wildcats will have a quick turnaround as they will travel up to Lincoln, Neb. today and take on Nebraska tonight. They enter the game with a 19-13 record after the win against Wichita State. The Cornhuskers have won four straight home games entering Wednesday night’s game.
“Rough,” Hill said about the quick turn around. “Go home, go to bed and go to Nebraska and that’s going to be a tough place up there.”