BatCats take two of three against Hawkeyes

Junior pitcher Parker Rigler pitches during the baseball game between the University of Texas and K-State on Friday, April 8, 2016, at Tointon Family Stadium. (File Photo by George Walker | The Collegian)

While the K-State baseball team has been lucky enough to play in good weather all season, their weekend trip to Iowa City to face the Iowa Hawkeyes offered some new challenges.

“More than anything else, we played well in tough conditions,” K-State head coach Brad Hill said to K-State Sports. “We have played in great conditions almost all year and then you come up here, and it’s 20 degrees colder, windy and rainy. The guys hung in there. We pitched really well all weekend. Offensively, we did what we had to do to win two games. Pitching, though, picked us up, and we played pretty good defense.”

The Wildcats got a good start in game one from junior pitcher Parker Rigler in a 3-2 win over the Hawkeyes.

“Good pitching tonight,” Hill said to K-State Sports after the game. “Rigler pitched himself into the sixth inning and made just one mistake. He came back, though, and refocused after giving up the home run, which is what I was proud of. It has been a struggle for him when something like that happens and all of sudden he loses his command. Tonight, he was able to get refocused and finish off the sixth.”

Capitalizing on two Iowa errors, the Wildcats got on the board first in the opening frame on a RBI by junior first basemen Jake Scudder, which scored junior infielder Jake Wodtke.

In the fifth inning, the Wildcats scored another run on an RBI single by freshman catcher Josh Rolette, who had three hits in the game.

The Hawkeyes got a run back, however, in the sixth after a solo home run by senior catcher Daniel Aaron Moriel, which cut the lead to 2-1.

K-State responded as they got a run in the top of the seventh inning via an RBI double by junior infielder Steve Serratore to put the Wildcats up by two.

The Hawkeyes got a run in the bottom of the eighth, but were held down by senior pitcher Lucas Benenati, who came in and got the save for the Wildcats in the one-run win.

After game two was rained out Saturday, the two teams played a doubleheader Sunday.

Game two was a pitching battle as the Hawkeyes came out in the close game with the 2-1 win.

Yet again, the Wildcats scored first in the second inning after a double by senior infielder Tyler Wolfe and a RBI by junior outfielder Quintin Crandall to give K-State a 1-0 lead.

The Hawkeyes answered the Wildcats run with a run of their own after three singles in the inning to tie the game at one.

Iowa sophomore pitcher Nick Gallagher threw seven shutout innings and got the win for the Hawkeyes as he held the Wildcats bats quiet the rest of the game.

Hawkeye senior outfielder Joel Booker hit a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh inning, which was the deciding run in a 2-1 win for Iowa to split the series going into game three.

In game three, the Wildcats got out to another early lead as they scored a run in the top of the first inning after a RBI by Rolette.

The Hawkeyes scored a run in the third after back-to-back doubles to tie the game at one.

K-State got runs in the fourth and the sixth innings to take a 3-1 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh.

The Hawkeyes got a run back in the seventh after a RBI by senior infielder Nick Roscetti to cut the deficit to one.

In the eighth, Scudder took advantage of an error by Iowa and scored after a single, which eventually led to an RBI by freshman outfielder Cade Bunnell to give K-State a two-run lead heading into the bottom of the ninth.

It was Benenati again who came in for the save and give the Wildcats the season win.

The Wildcats, now 21-23 on the season, will host Wichita State on Tuesday at Tointon Family Stadium before returning the favor and traveling to Wichita to take on the Shockers on Wednesday.