Long ball, solid pitching lead the charge in victory over Creighton

Senior Josh Nicoloff eyes the batter during the April 5, 2022 game against Creighton at Tointon Family Stadium. (Sophie Osborn | Collegian Media Group)

Even with a few hiccups throughout the game — like three defensive errors and a late comeback attempt from Creighton — the Kansas State baseball team secured a 7-5 victory on Tuesday.

Entering the night’s game, K-State knew it was entering a tough stretch of games in the coming weeks. A win over a talented and tough Creighton Blue Jays squad would give the Wildcats plenty of momentum heading into the weekend against Texas Tech.

“It was important to win tonight,” head coach Pete Hughes said. “Going into Lubbock this weekend [against Texas Tech] we’re going to have some confidence.”

The key for the Wildcats was pitching and home runs on Tuesday night. Wesley Moore, redshirt junior, started and struck out a career-high eight batters and Blake Corsentino struck out nine batters in relief.

Dylan Phillips added another punch out in his relief appearance as K-State finished with 18 strikeouts, one shy of the school record for strikeouts in a game.

“I’m real happy for Wes [Moore],” Hughes said. “Here’s a kid who’s been coming back from injury, and I was really impressed with him tonight. His change-up is his best pitch, and he really had it going for him tonight. Corsentino looked great, too. And I was fired up for Tyson Neighbors. He pitched the best he has all season.”

On the offensive side, the Wildcats hit four homers, giving them seven homers in their past two ball games. Phillips connected for a mammoth 426-foot, three-run blast over the right-field wall in the first inning. Phillips has now hit five homers in the past week.

“I’ve been hitting my stride here lately,” Phillips said. “I’ve been more patient and am looking for mistakes [from pitchers].”

Dom Johnson, Nick Goodwin and Orlando Salinas Jr. also went deep. Goodwin has homered in back-to-back games, and is starting to swing the bat better in recent weeks.

“I was getting myself out a lot at the start of the year,” Goodwin said. “Lately, I’ve been trying to hit the ball to the big part of the field and not trying to pull it too much.”

The work is starting to pay off for him, hitting a line-drive opposite-field home run leading off the sixth inning.

K-State now hits the road for a pivotal three-game series, April 8-10, against the No. 4 ranked team in the nation: the Texas Tech Red Raiders. All three games are on ESPN+. Stay tuned to the Collegian for coverage of K-State baseball all season long.