On a warm, sunny afternoon at Tointon Family Stadium, the Wildcats got just the win they needed to prove that their dominating performance last weekend against a struggling Arkansas at Pine Bluff team was no fluke.
The 6-4 Creighton Bluejays came to town Wednesday for a game that the Wildcats won 8-2.
The game was highlighted by K-State’s pitching staff. Creighton took a 1-0 lead early in the first inning when senior infielder Harrison Crawford drove in junior infielder Nicky Lopez on a single to left field. The Bluejays built on the lead when senior outfielder Brett Murray knocked a single of his own into left, allowing senior infielder Reagan Fowler to score.
Those were the only runs Creighton scored for the remainder of the game.
“Obviously our pitchers take it to heart,” K-State head coach Brad Hill said. “We got on them pretty good after the weekend. I know (pitching coach Tyler Kincaid) got on them really hard after the weekend and was not happy about pitch location, competitiveness and the whole thing. Today the stress was: Get the ball back down in the zone.”
Photos: Baseball vs. Creighton
The Wildcats finally got their scoring started in the bottom of the third inning when junior infielder Jake Wodtke drove in senior outfielder Clayton Dalrymple. This was quickly followed by a double from junior infielder Steve Serratore that brought Wodtke in and tied the game after three innings.
K-State’s pitching staff gave up one hit to senior catcher Matt Gandy in the top of the fourth inning. The Wildcats asserted their dominance by not allowing the Bluejays to record another hit until junior infielder Bryce Only dropped a hit into left-center in the ninth inning.
“The pitchers did an amazing job of throwing strikes at the knees, making it tough for Creighton to get any good swings off,” Dalrymple said. “So whenever you know the pitchers are going to compete like that and play that well, it gives your offense a great opportunity, and you know you’re going to be ahead when you get the bats in your hands. It does wonders for the offense. It was a great job by our whole staff today, and I’m really proud of them.”
K-State took the lead in the fifth inning when Wodtke and freshman outfielder Michael Smith crossed the plate. No more runs crossed the plate until the eighth inning.
The Wildcats built up a comfortable lead in the eighth and scored what Hill called “critical runs” when junior first baseman Jake Scudder scored on a wild ball to make the score 5-2.
“I know one thing,” Hill said. “The more often you do it, then the more often you expect those things to happen. That’s important to get that going and that confidence level comes out. Like I said, the more you do it, the more often it happens for you.”
The Wildcats scored three more runs in the inning on their way to the 8-2 victory, their sixth-straight win. They now sit at an 8-4 overall record.
The Wildcats will be in action again on Friday at 3:05 p.m. when they welcome the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, who is 3-9, to Tointon Family Stadium.