Bat Cats fizzle out in the Kleberg Bank College Classic

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Juniors Terrence Spurlin and Zach Kokoska and senior Chris Ceballos knock helmets after a two-run drive against TCU. The Wildcats won 7-4 at Tointon Stadium in Manhattan. (Dalton Wainscott I Collegian Media Group)

The baseball team moves to 3-4 on the season after dropping the final two games of the Kleberg College Classic over the weekend, but young talent shined in game one.

The Wildcats faced off against former Big 12 foe Missouri, as well as Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Utah in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Game 1: K-State 5, Missouri 1 (W: McCullough 1-0, L: Bedell 1-1)

The Wildcats broke a five-game skid against the Tigers and got their first win over Missouri since 2011 with a 5-1 score for the opening game of the Kleberg Bank College Classic Friday night.

Redshirt freshman Connor McCullough pitched his second quality start of the season in his six innings of work and earned the win with eight strikeouts. The Arkansas transfer only allowed one run on four hits and walked two. Collectively, Kansas State pitchers struck out 13 and only allowed three walks.

Senior catcher Chris Ceballos opened the scoring in the fourth inning with a two-run home run — his first of the season — to give the Wildcats an early edge. Redshirt junior shortstop Kamron Willman added another run in the fifth with an RBI single and collected his second RBI of the game later in the seventh.

Junior right fielder Zach Kokoska followed Willman’s seventh inning hit with a single of his own, driving in sophomore center fielder Blake Burrows, who scored on an error, giving the Wildcats their fifth and final run of the game. Sophomore infielder Daniel Carinci went 3-3 at the plate with a double.

The lone run for the Tigers came in the sixth inning with a fielder’s choice RBI by senior designated hitter Peter Zimmermann. Mizzou left six men on base and went 1-for-12 with runners on base. Junior pitcher Ian Bedell pitched six innings in the loss allowing three earned runs with five strikeouts and two walks.

Game 2: Texas A&M Corpus Christi 5, K-State 2 (W: Thomas 1-1, L: Carson 0-2, S: Nelson 1)

A four-run third inning was crucial for the Islanders in game two of the Kleberg Bank College Classic on Saturday. The Wildcats struck first with senior third baseman Cameron Thompson scoring on a wild pitch in the top of the first to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead. Willman pushed the lead to 2-0 on a fielder’s choice in the third, which would be the last run for the Wildcats as they left nine runners on base.

Texas A&M Corpus Christi rallied with a four-run third and a one-run fifth. Senior right fielder Scott Hastings went 3-for-4 at the plate with two RBIs and junior center fielder Tristan Welch went 1-for-4 with two RBIs.

Sophomore pitcher Hayden Thomas pitched five innings, allowing two runs on four hits with five strikeouts in the win. Junior Daniel Nelson pitched four scoreless innings to earn the save. Nelson struck out five in relief and walked a batter.

Redshirt sophomore pitcher Carson Seymour pitcher 4.1 innings and only allowed two hits in the loss. Seymour struck out four, but walked four and allowed five runs. Kansas State junior pitchers Jaxon Passino and Zak Herbers held the Islanders scoreless in relief.

The Wildcats were originally scheduled to face off against the Islanders on Thursday as well, but the game was canceled due to inclement weather.

Game 3: Utah 2, K-State 1 (W: McCleve 1-0, L: Eckberg 0-1)

Utah defeated the Wildcats in walk-off fashion with a two-run ninth to win 2-1 in the final game of the weekend. Despite the loss, sophomore pitcher Jordan Wicks struck out 10 in a seven-inning, no decision performance. Wicks did not allow a hit, but walked four. K-State pitchers allowed seven walks in the game and redshirt junior Tyler Eckberg was charged with the loss.

The Wildcats struck first in the eighth with an RBI double by Kokoska,but was thrown out attempting to leg out a triple. The Wildcats recorded seven hits, but left seven on base. Kokoska led K-State going 2-for-4 at the plate with an RBI and two strikeouts.

Junior second baseman Matt Richardson got the Utes on the board by scoring on a wild pitch. Utah walked it off on a fielder’s choice by junior Shea Kramer on a pinch-hit appearance to score junior left fielder Vinny Zavolta to take the game 2-1.

Redshirt senior Kyle Robeniol allowed no runs on four hits in 6.1 innings striking out three and walking two. Utah pitchers combined for four strikeouts in the game and walked four. Sophomore Zac McCleve earned the win for the Utes, recording the last out for Utah.

The Wildcats starting pitchers combined for 22 of the 29 strikeouts over the weekend, but walks proved to be costly for K-State who gave up 15. Willman led the Wildcats offensively with three RBIs in the series.

K-State will face off against Wichita State on Wednesday in the first matchup of a home-and-home series. The Wildcats tied the season series with the Shockers last season. It will be the final game before the home opener with a doubleheader Friday against Fairleigh Dickinson.

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