Baseball team sweeps La Salle in weekend three-game series

Starting pitcher Gabe Littlejim gets ready to launch the ball over the plate during Saturday's game against La Salle. (Alex Todd | Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State baseball team completed a three-game sweep of the La Salle Explorers this weekend at Tointon Family Stadium in Manhattan, improving the Wildcats’ season record to 7-4 overall.

The Wildcats won the first game over the Explorers 9-3 on Friday night.

K-State sophomore pitcher Kasey Ford pitched six and two-thirds innings. He gave up only three runs on seven hits.

Junior centerfielder Drew Mount was a perfect 3-3 for the day. He also recorded three RBIs and scored three runs himself. He had two triples and a home run.

K-State took a 6-3 lead into the bottom of the eighth and put up a three-spot to put the game away.

Freshman pitcher Quinton Potter pitched a scoreless top of the ninth, but because of the six-run lead, did not qualify for a save.

Junior infielder Rainer Ausmus prepares for a pitch as he bats against La Salle in Tointon Family Stadium on March 2, 2018. The Wildcats defeated the Explorers 9-3. (Logan Wassall | Collegian Media Group)

K-State then beat La Salle in walk-off fashion on Saturday, 11-10 in 11 innings.

K-State took an 8-6 lead into the ninth inning, but La Salle managed to score three runs to take a 9-8 lead.

La Salle’s scoring started with a one-out double by senior designated hitter Chase Arnold. Junior right fielder Connor Hinchliffe scored Arnold’s pinch runner on a single.

Next, freshman third baseman Tommy Toal reached on a fielder’s choice that scored senior centerfielder Brian Dudek. Hinchliffe scored on a wild pitch to make it 9-8 La Salle going into the bottom of the ninth.

With two outs, Ausmus hit a solo home run for K-State to knot it up at nine runs apiece. Each team then managed a run in the tenth inning to make it 10-10.

In the bottom of the eleventh, Ausmus drew a walk and freshman Brett Owen pinch ran for him. Owen scored the game-winning run on a one-out double by senior first baseman Trent McMaster.

Sophomore outfielder Will Brennan slides into home during the baseball game against La Salle in Tointon Family Stadium on March 2, 2018. The Wildcats defeated the Explorers 9-3. (Logan Wassall | Collegian Media Group)

The Wildcats finally completed the sweep Sunday, beating La Salle 5-1.

Senior pitcher Justin Heskett provided a quality start for K-State, going seven and two-thirds innings and only giving up one run on nine hits.

“It was nice to come out here and have a good outing and get that out of my mind,” Heskett said. “There were a few adjustments I made in my mid-week bullpen this week that helped me today. Those helped me along with just getting my head right.”

Heskett got some help from his outfield, who gunned down two Explorers who were trying to score in the early innings.

“We threw two guys out at the plate early; that was big,” head coach Brad Hill said.

Sophomore left fielder Will Brennan was 3-5 for the day, including an RBI single in the fourth inning that scored freshman catcher Jordan Maxson.

Maxson had a two-run home run to left-center in the bottom of the eighth to add two insurance runs for K-State.

Freshman pitcher Jaxon Passino recorded his first career save, pitching one and one-third innings of scoreless baseball to close out the win.

The Wildcat baseball team will be in action again Tuesday and Wednesday when it hosts Incarnate Word for a two-game series.

Hi! I'm Nathan Enserro, a graduate student from Olathe, Kansas, working on a Masters in Mass Communication. I graduated in spring 2020 with a Bachelor's of Science in strategic communications from K-State. This is my fourth year covering K-State sports for the Collegian.