Baseball defeats Northern Colorado to close midweek series

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Junior Kamron Willman eyes the ball on his way to home plate during K-State's game against Northern Colorado on April 13, 2021 at Tointon Family Stadium. (Sophie Osborn | Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State baseball team closed out a two-game series with Northern Colorado with a 10-3 win on Tuesday night in Tointon Family Stadium.

The Wildcats took immediate control when freshman starting pitcher Brett Wozniak sat down the Bears in order in the first, including catching the first two batters looking at strike three.

“I thought we started off strong,” K-State head coach Pete Hughes said. “The first seven innings I thought we played good baseball and then we got caught up into the atmosphere of the game. You can’t be scoreboard watching if you want to be a really good team and I thought we did that at the end.”

Senior Cameron Thompson walked with one out, stole second and then made it to third when the catcher’s throw to second found its way to centerfield. He would score when freshman Nick Goodwin reached on a Bear error.

In the second, senior centerfielder Caleb Littlejim beat out an infield single and three batters later Thompson found himself at the plate with two outs and the bases loaded. He ripped a triple down the left field line to score three.

“We had plenty more opportunities. We left a lot of runs out there,” Hughes said. “We got a big hit by Cam Thompson. I thought we played well with two outs, that’s always a sign of a good team and that’s something I always look at.”

Goodwin recorded yet another RBI single to score Thompson to bring the total to four runs in the second, and the Wildcats lead to 5-1.

Sophomore first baseman Dylan Phillips scored Goodwin in the fourth. Phillips himself scored on an RBI single by senior designated hitter Chris Ceballos. Junior second baseman Kamron Willman cleared Ceballos with a two-run home run into the Wildcat bullpen.

“I thought our plate discipline once again was outstanding tonight,” Hughes said. “Those are the things we need to do to build a good offense here as we get deep into the second half of our season.”

K-State had one more run in them in the fifth to put the game away for sure on an RBI single from junior right fielder Zach Kokoska to make it 10-1.

Meanwhile, the Wildcat defense and pitching were working themselves out of jams left and right. They stranded 13 Bears on the bases.

Northern Colorado had nothing to show for their runners on the corners with two outs in the third, bases loaded with one down in the fourth and the sixth after managing a run in the second.

They finally broke through for a pair in the top of the eighth thanks to a host of Wildcat errors in the inning to push the score to its final of 10-3.

“Defense was sloppy at the end of the game. Gotta be able to play catch,” Hughes said.

Junior reliever Jaxon Passino was credited with the win. He threw three innings, striking out five and giving up no runs on five hits. Wozniak made his first career start.

K-State will stay home this weekend and host the Oklahoma Sooners in a Friday-Saturday-Sunday series in Manhattan. Sophomore starter Jordan Wicks will likely toe the rubber for K-State at 6 p.m. on Friday night.

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Nathan Enserro
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.