Wildcat baseball sweeps Sunflower Showdown in 39-run slugfest

Kaelen Culpepper swings the bat against the Creighton Bluejays. The Wildcats had a victory of 10-0 over the Bluejays on April 10, 2023 in Tointon Family Stadium. (Avery Johnson | Collegian Media Group)

With winds swirling at Hoglund Ballpark in Lawrence, the Kansas State Wildcats and the Kansas Jayhawks combined to score 39 runs on 36 hits in a 21-18 Wildcat victory on Sunday afternoon.

The Wildcats blasted four home runs in the victory, two coming from third baseman Kaelan Culpepper who drove in six runs on Sunday.

The game started with first baseman Roberto Pena continuing his hot stretch, launching his ninth homer of the year over the left field fence to kick off scoring in the second inning.

After scoring another run on a single from right fielder Cash Rugley, designated hitter Kyan Lodice launched a grand slam over the wall in center to give K-State a 6-0 lead. Lodice’s bomb was followed by a two-run blast from Culpepper, making it 8-0 Wildcats. 

When the inning was all said and done, the Wildcats led 13-0 and looked well on its way to a series sweep and its second mercy rule victory in the last week.

However, Kansas wouldn’t back down on Sunday. In the bottom of the third, the Jayhawks made it a ballgame by scoring seven runs, cutting the deficit to six.

The big blow in the inning was a grand slam by lead-off hitter Chase Jans. Jans starred in the matchup, driving in nine runs in a 5-for-7 afternoon at the plate.

The game continued to be a back and forth affair throughout, with the Wildcats scoring in the fourth, fifth and eighth innings and the Jayhawks scoring in the fourth, sixth, eighth and ninth innings.

Culpepper essentially put the game to bed with his second homer of the day in the eighth inning, a three-run shot giving the Wildcats a seven-run lead at the time.

Despite its best efforts to come back, Kansas couldn’t get anywhere near tying the ball game as the Jayhawks fell, 21-18. The win puts K-State at 24-14 and only one game back of first place in the Big 12. 

The Wildcats will be back home at Tointon Family Stadium at 6 p.m. on Tuesday to battle another in-state rival in Wichita State.