After getting off to a 2-7 start in conference play, the K-State baseball team needed to win a conference series and show the rest of the Big 12 that they still have plenty left in the tank after last year’s regular season championship.
With two wins over the Baylor Bears (18-21, 5-9 Big 12), the Wildcats (22-18, 4-8 Big 12) showed that they still have some punch and are not done yet in 2014.
An 8-2 win on Thursday night was about as good a first game as the Wildcats could want, as they used another solid performance from sophomore Levi MaVorhis on the mound and a five-run sixth inning to grab the win in game one.
MaVorhis continued to do what he has done all season; he kept opposing bats quiet and ate up innings, he allowed two runs off seven hits through eight innings with a walk and no strikeouts, which gave him his fifth win of the season.
The offense tallied 11 hits in the game, and did most of their damage in a huge sixth inning. The star of the inning was senior second baseman Ross Kivett, who had a two-run single, stole second and then third base, and then came home on a single from senior third baseman RJ Santigate.
Kivett, junior shortstop Austin Fisher and junior center fielder Max Brown all finished with two hits, while Brown added a two-run homer in the seventh inning for some insurance runs. Freshman Tyler Stover, making his first start at first base in conference play, led all players with three hits.
Friday provided K-State with its second win and clenched the series for them thanks to a two-run infield single by senior catcher Blair DeBord that required him to slide headfirst into first base during the eighth inning.
The offense banged out double-digit hits again with 13, led by freshman Tanner DeVinny’s three-hit game, while Kivett, Stover and senior left fielder Shane Conlon each had two hits apiece. Kivett also hit his third home run of the year to lead off the third inning.
Freshman Jordan Floyd, making the first start of his career, pitched three innings, allowing three runs off five hits with two walks and no strikeouts. Three more innings from fellow freshman Jake Fromson with one run allowed and four punch outs bridged the game to senior Jared Moore, who tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings in his first relief appearance of the year. Sophomore Jake Matthys got his second win of the season with 1 1/3 scoreless innings to finish out the game for K-State.
Going for the sweep on Saturday, the Wildcats were held to just one run and six hits by Baylor freshman Daniel Castano, while K-State freshman Nate Griep lost his third straight game.
Griep lasted 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs off five hits with a walk and one strikeout – the only strikeout by any of K-State’s three starting pitchers all weekend. Freshman Ethan Landon allowed another run in 1 2/3 innings while Moore finished out the game with 1 2/3 scoreless innings.
Kivett had his third two-hit game of the series, finishing the weekend six for 12 with a walk, three runs scored, three runs driven in and three stolen bases. Junior third baseman Carter Yagi also had two hits and drove in the team’s lone run the series finale.
The Wildcats will stay in Manhattan this week to host CSU Bakersfield on Monday and Tuesday, and then travel to Morgantown, W.VA. to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers next weekend.