Wildcats lose third straight on nine-game road trip

Then-freshman Brady Day eyes the ball during the April 24, 2022 game against UC Irvine. (Archive photo by Sophie Osborn | Collegian Media Group)

Sam Houston State pitcher Steven Beard shutout Kansas State until shortstop Nick Goodwin breathed life into the Wildcats with a solo-home run to left field in the seventh inning. Despite a valiant effort in the eighth, the Bearkats squashed a potential comeback in the ninth to win 8-3.

Cash Rugely’s lead-off walk and Brendan Jones’ sliced double down the right field line set up Brady Day’s two-run bloop double into center field to come within a one-run deficit. However, a base-running mistake spoiled the rally when Carlos Contreras’ diving catch in left-center turned into a double-play as Goodwin passed Day in the basepaths.

Easton Loyd’s two-run bomb to right field followed a pair of doubles by Justin Wishkoski and Walker Janek to extend Sam Houston State’s lead to five runs in the ninth. Orlando Salinas Jr. started for an injured Kaelen Culpepper at third base, and Salinas’ error after Wishkoski’s double added fuel to the fire. It served as Salinas’ third mental error following a third inning RBI-single on a dropped infield fly and a miscommunication between him and Goodwin on a grounder.

The loss is K-State’s second of the 2023 Karbach Round Rock Classic and third consecutive on the season. The Tigers tallied 15 strikeouts in its win on Friday and K-State struckout 10 times against the Bearkats on Saturday, ending with a strikeout swinging for a cherry on top.

Beard cruised through the Wildcat order in seven innings pitched, allowing one run on four hits while striking six batters out in his first win of the season. His reliever, Miles Hellums, surrendered the two K-State runs in the eighth before Braden Davis struck out the side in the ninth.

Jackson Wentworth struck five batters out, but allowed four runs — three earned — on 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings pitched. It earns him his first loss of the season. Relievers Blake Corsentino, Tyson Neighbors and Kyler Heyne combined for no runs allowed in 4 1/3 prior to Shay Hartis’ four-run outing.

Raphael Pelletier caught two runners stealing in the game, throwing out a runner attempting to steal third on a bad jump and gunning another down at second. Pelletier placed a third throw on the money at second base, but the runner’s foot kicked the ball out of Day’s glove.

K-State seeks its first win of the round-robin tournament against Iowa at noon on Sunday, Feb. 26. A victory for the Hawkeyes marks its second win of the Classic and the fifth win of the season after defeating No. 1 LSU 12-4 while K-State searches for a fifth win of the year as well. Viewing is available at D1Baseball with a day pass and audio is found on KMAN Radio.