The Kansas State baseball team (8-4) dominated South Dakota State again on Wednesday, March 10, winning 10-0. The victory capped off a mid-week series sweep of the Jackrabbits.
The Wildcat offense struck early with the second batter of the game junior catcher Austin Garrett hitting a solo home run to make it 1-0. The home run was Garrett’s first home run as a Wildcat.
“Austin Garrett is an unselfish team guy that’s been waiting for his opportunity,” head coach Pete Hughes said. “He just works and when his name got called, he was ready.”
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After sophomore second baseman Daniel Carinci’s two-run single, the Wildcats led 3-0 at the end of the first inning.
“We’re always looking to make our lineup better and give kids opportunities to prove that,” Hughes said. “That’s what good and really deep programs are able to do.”
The offense stayed hot in the second inning, adding three more runs and making it 6-0. Sophomore Dylan Phillips added a solo home run in the third inning to make it 7-0. His home run extended his on-base streak to 23 consecutive games.
Phillips said he was pleased with how the team kept its foot on the pedal.
“We kind of scuffled in a few games this past weekend, but yeah these two games were good for us just seeing the ball fly, kind of relaxing us just knowing that we are capable of being a pretty good offense,” Phillips said.
Not to be outdone by the offense, senior starting pitcher Caleb Littlejim only allowed one hit in his four innings and striking out eight. His set a new career-high with eight strikeouts.
Strikeouts were a theme for Wildcat pitching — Littlejim, Phillips, sophomore Griffin Hassall, senior Luke Hauswirth and junior Andrew Stratman combined to strikeout 16 total with every starter for the Jackrabbits striking out at least once. The pitchers also held the Jackrabbits to 3-30 as a team at the plate.
“We got a lot of guys involved, guys that are looking to expand their role in our bullpen and guys that already have roles in our bullpen,” Hughes said. “Those guys were sharp.”
Freshman Cameron Uselton added to the hit parade with an RBI infield single in the fifth. Junior Kamron Willman followed with an RBI single of his own to make it 9-0 Wildcats.
Phillips decided one home run was not enough and added another solo shot in the sixth to make it 10-0. The home run was Phillips’s third multi-home run game and his third home run in two games. It was an offensive performance the team will use as confidence moving forward.
“I think that [scoring 25 runs in the past two games] is definitely big for our confidence,” Phillips said.
The Wildcats take on Northern Illinois on March 12 in Houston, Texas. First pitch is scheduled for noon. Audio coverage will be provided by KMAN radio.