K-State swept by California after 9-1 loss Monday

Then-junior second baseman Carter Yagi picks up a grounder and launches it toward first base for K-State's third out in the top of the fifth inning in the Wildcats' season home opener against Iowa on March 7, 2014. After jumping out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first inning, the 'Cats hung on to beat the Hawkeyes 3-2.

K-State baseball’s early-season momentum hit a rough patch this past weekend out west. The Wildcats (4-7) were swept in three games by the University of California, including a 9-1 loss Monday to close out the series.

Junior starting pitcher Corey Fischer, who provided a quality start last weekend in Arizona against Washington State, was hit early and often, allowing six-straight batters to get on base to start the game.

The Bears were able to send five of those six batters home to rip open a 5-0 lead on the Wildcats in the first inning.

“We’re not balanced right now,” K-State head coach Brad Hill said to K-State Sports. “(Cal) got five in the first, and we’re already battling and scrambling and then those runs take the emotion out of us. We have to answer the bell, though, especially when Fischer resets. He throws some zeros up there (from the second through fourth innings), and we have to score a couple of runs to get momentum back on our side and give us new life.”

Fischer ended his day with the loss, allowing five runs — three earned — on seven hits and four walks. It was Fischer’s first loss of the season.

A glimmer of hope did appear for K-State as back-to-back bunts by junior outfielder Clayton Dalrymple and senior infielder Shane Conlon led the way for a two-out RBI by sophomore catcher Steve Serratore to put the Wildcats on the board.

The hits by Conlon and Serratore extended their on-base streak to 11 games.

California responded to the Wildcat’s lone run by putting up three more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and a final run in the eighth inning to round out the game.

“We go from playing well last weekend (in Arizona) to not playing so well this weekend, unfortunately,” Hill said. “We have to repair ourselves. We’re continuing to learn about ourselves and we need to figure some things out. We know that we have a good club, we saw that last weekend, but it also shows how quickly things can change.”

Barring another winter storm by Mother Nature, K-State will return home for their first home series of the season against Santa Clara.

First pitch of the series is scheduled for Friday at 3 p.m. from Tointon Family Stadium.