K-State baseball wins tie-breaking game, takes series against Mercer

Senior right-hand pitcher Justin Heskett prepares to let loose the ball. The men's baseball team faced off against the Mercer Bears on Sunday, and the Wildcats beat the Bears 13-6. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State baseball team played Mercer this past weekend, winning game one and the tie-breaking game three in the series to improve their overall record to 10-5.

Friday night was the first meeting between the two teams, and K-State blew past Mercer with 12 runs on 10 hits. The Wildcat offense gave sophomore starting pitcher Kasey Ford plenty of support.

Ford is now 3-0 after going seven innings, while giving up just three runs on eight hits and two walks. He struck out a career-high 10 batters in this outing and held Mercer’s offense scoreless through the first five innings.

K-State scored two runs through the first five innings against Mercer.

The Wildcats were able to load the bases for junior Drew Mount, who hit a grand slam to right field to give K-State an 8-0 lead.

In the next inning, the Mercer pitching staff walked Will Brennan, Jake Biller and Cameron Thompson. Mount hit his second grand slam of the game.

Mount became the second Wildcat to hit two grand slams in a game since 1994.

By the end of the seventh inning, K-State had scored for its final time when they went ahead 12-3. Ford gave up two solo home runs and a single to score Cory Wright, a former Wildcat now playing for Mercer.

Game two of the series on Saturday resulted in a score almost completely opposite of game one. K-State’s pitching struggled, and Mercer won 11-4 on 12 hits.

Junior pitcher Gabe Littlejim, now 1-2, took the loss after throwing 4.2 innings and giving up four runs on six hits with one walk.

Junior Brogan Heinen was pulled before he could record an out, giving up three runs on two hits and a walk. Jaxon Passino then threw 2.1 innings, giving up one run on two hits.

Senior closer Hudson Treu allowed three runs to score on his two hits. Treu gave up two walks and hit a batter.

K-State’s only lead came after the third inning when they scored two runs, but then Mercer took the lead right back and gradually grew their lead from the fourth inning on.

On offense, K-State batters struck out 17 times and had only eight hits, four of which came from Brennan. Ten runners were left on base, and they were able to draw six walks from the Mercer pitchers.

Fortunately for K-State, the Wildcats knocked the tie-breaking rubber match out of the park on Sunday, 13-6.

Mercer struck first with one run on three hits, but K-State was able to answer back on Rainer Ausmus double to right center, which drove in Mount and Thompson. Trent McMaster drove in Ausmus on a single.

In the next inning, Mercer scored an unearned run off Heskett from a fielding error by Ausmus.

Mercer player RJ Yeager doubled down the left field line to score Wright and Jackson Ware. Yeager was able to score on a sacrifice bunt from Trey Truitt.

In the bottom of the fourth, K-State scored three runs on a single and a sacrifice fly. Dylan Watts scored on a groundout to second by Brett Owen and increased the lead to 7-5.

Mercer was held to one run in the top of the seventh off one hit and an error.

In the bottom of the seventh, Brennan doubled down the left field line to put the Wildcats ahead by two runs once again. Owen drew a walk, and Mount singled to center driving in Brennan who stole third before Mount’s at bat. A four pitch walk loaded the bases to bring up Ausmus who flied out to right.

Going into the eighth inning, K-State was ahead 9-6 after leaving the bases loaded the last two innings. K-State was able to bring two more runs across the plate.

Kyle Barfield, who ran for McMaster, scored on an error by third baseman Ware. This was followed up by Hanz Harker scoring on a double to right by Watts. J. Passino ran for Watts and scored on a single by Owen. Brennan scored on a groundout from Mount, putting K-State’s final run on the board and going ahead 13-6.

Justin Heskett pitched 3.1 innings and gave up five runs, two earned, on eight hits, two walks and four strikeouts. Jared Marolf helped Heskett by providing 5.2 innings of relief. Marolf gave up just one run and three hits with two strikeouts.

Mount finished the weekend series with 10 runs batted in against Mercer and his 12th stolen base in 14 games. Brennan had four hit games in the last two games of the series. K-State will look to carry the momentum into their next six games at home.

The next game for K-State will be at home versus Creighton inside Tointon Family Stadium on Tuesday, with first pitch scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

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