Senior infielder Tyler Wolfe re-wrote K-State history Wednesday night in Tointon Family Stadium. The Maple Plain, Minnesota, native hit two home runs to help boost his team to a 10-6 win over the 19-19-1 Grand Canyon Antelopes.
It was the first time since May 31, 2013, that a Wildcat batter had two home runs in a single game. The record was previously held by Ross Kivett.
“Big night,” K-State head coach Brad Hill said. “He swung the bat great, made great defensive plays and just a really good overall night by him.”
The game was one that looked over early as the Wildcats jumped on their opponent quickly.
Senior outfielder Clayton Dalrymple started the K-State batters off positively with a lead-off triple to left-center field. Junior infielder Jake Wodtke came to the plate next and singled to center to drive in Dalrymple for a quick 1-0 lead.
The Wildcats, 19-22, were far from done in the first inning, though. With two men on base, Wolfe sailed a pitch over the center field wall for a three-run home run and built the lead up to 4-0.
Wolfe finished the night going 2-3 at the plate with two runs and five RBIs.
Grand Canyon chipped away at the early lead in the second inning when freshman outfielder Preston Pavlica answered with a home run of his own. It was the only run the Antelopes scored that inning. The run was quickly erased by K-State when senior catcher Tyler Moore scored in the bottom of the third on a Grand Canyon throwing error.
The Antelopes cashed in big during the fourth inning, exposing freshmen pitchers Logan Wiley, Brogan Heinen and Mitch Zubradt.
One run was scored off of a single from freshman infielder Tyler Wyatt. Heinen came in to pitch following that run.
Heinen walked two Grand Canyon batters, sophomore infielder Greg Saenz and freshman catcher Jared McDonald, scoring two runs. Zubradt took the mound next.
A fielder’s choice allowed sophomore outfielder Thomas Lerouge to come home and score the fourth run of the inning for the Antelopes, tying the game at the top of the fourth.
Despite the struggle in the inning, Zubradt earned the win and improved to 2-0 on the year.
“Zubradt was outstanding,” Hill said. “Mitch comes in with the bases loaded, no outs, gave up one run out of that. That’s a great inning by him.”
Junior outfielder Quintin Crandall was the only response the Wildcats got in the bottom of the inning with his solo home run to right-center field, making the score 6-5 after four.
K-State created a large separation in the fifth inning when the Wildcats put up three runs. A sacrifice fly to center from Wolfe allowed freshman catcher Josh Rolette to come home from third and score the first run.
The next two came thanks to a triple from junior infielder Steve Serratore. The hit allowed Moore and junior first baseman Jake Scudder to cross the plate, giving the Wildcats a 9-5 lead.
“A lot of back and forth emotion,” Wolfe said of the game pattern. “A lot of just getting control of the game. We had it early, lost it and then got it back. It was big that we got it back especially after a rough (fifth) inning there, giving away the lead. Luckily we punched right back.”
A homer from Wolfe in the bottom of the seventh and a Pavlica homer in the eighth were the final scores of the game before the Wildcats closed it out.
K-State has now won three games in a row. The Wildcats will look to keep the trend moving upward when they travel to Iowa City, Iowa, to face the Iowa Hawkeyes in a three-game stretch this weekend.
“We just need to continue to play good baseball, sound baseball and keep some guys going in the right direction,” Hill said. “We’re going to need some of those young guys in the bullpen to become more consistent for us because we’re going to need them.”