K-State baseball defeats St. Thomas 11-3 to start homestand

K-State's Robert Pena slides in for the run against St. Thomas. The Wildcats won the first round of the homestead 11-2. (Madison Riebel | Collegian Media Group)

Editor’s note: The previous archive photo used as the article photo has been replaced with a new photo from the article’s game. The original archive photo used can be found at the bottom of the article. Additionally, the headline was fixed to the correct final score.

The Kansas State Wildcats defeated the St. Thomas Tommies 11-3 to improve the team’s record to 14-7. K-State sent out freshman pitcher Andrew Evans in his first career start against St. Thomas pitcher Nolan Kemp. Freshman pitcher Cole Wisenbaker would end with the win to move to a 2-1 record after pitching 3 2/3 innings with two strikeouts.

Evans had an early scare in the first inning after a two-out error by third baseman Brady Day. The Tommies were unable to take advantage and flew out with loaded bases.

St. Thomas bounced back at the top of the second as outfielder Brigs Richartz drove in infielder Colin Lewandowski with a single. The Wildcats limited the scoring after a two-out ball went all the way to the warning track but was caught. K-State had another scoreless inning but would get on the board in the third.

After a fielder’s choice and a balk, infielder Roberto Pena was driven in by a single from outfielder Brendan Jones to tie the game at 1-1. A walk by outfielder Dom Hughes led to a three-run home run by infielder Nick Goodwin, his fifth of the season, to take the score to 4-1.

A scoreless fourth inning, which featured a pitching change to Wisenbaker, was followed by each team scoring one run in the fifth. The Tommies scored via a sac fly from catcher Charlie Bartholomew, driving in outfielder Ben Vujovich. After a pitching change to St. Thomas pitcher Will Nigut, the Wildcats were able to score off of an infield error on a pop up played by Nigut to push the score to 5-2.

Wisenbaker took care of the top of the sixth as K-State took over the bottom of the inning. It started with a double from utility player Cash Rugley who then would steal third. Infielder Orlando Salinas Jr. drove Rugley in with a sac fly to score the team’s first run of the inning. 

Pena would later double, ending a six-game hitless streak. He was driven in by a Jones single who then stole both second and third base. Goodwin would be walked, initiating a pitching change to Carl Cano who walked his first batter in outfielder Cole Johnson to load the bases. Cano would throw a wild pitch driving in Jones, the last run of the inning to go up 8-2.

The seventh inning produced zero runs for either team. At the top of the eight, K-State made a pitching change to Mason Buss, the Wildcats’ third freshman pitcher on the night. He quickly disposed of the Tommie batters.

The K-State batters in the bottom of the eighth continued to expand the lead. Pena hit his second double and Goodwin would drive in his fourth and fifth game RBI on a two-run single with bases loaded. The Wildcats scored one last run by a single from pinch hitter Kyan Lodice, his fourth RBI of the year bringing the lead to 11-2.

Buss nearly kept the score at 11-2 but an error allowed the Tommies to score one final run to lose 11-3. While winning by eight, K-State only hit three more hits than St. Thomas, collecting 14 compared to the Tommies’ 11. The two teams will face off again at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 22.

Infielder Orlando Salinas Jr. twirls his bat in preparation for the pitch. Salinas tallied 5 RBI in K-State’s 14-8 win against Army. (Archive photo by Chase Hagemann | Collegian Media Group)