Baseball bests UC Irvine with a close eighth-inning run

KSU against UC Irvine
Kansas State baseball finished with a 4-10 loss to Wichita State on April 18. (Jersey Johnson | Collegian Media Group)

The Wildcats pushed past UC Irvine with a 6-4 victory off an eighth-inning score from outfielder Cole Johnson who grounded out with bases for a go-ahead score. First baseman Roberto Pena followed with an insurance homer in the ninth inning, solidifying the Wildcat’s second-straight win.

German Fajardo got the start for the Wildcats pitching, playing a full five innings. Fajardo struggled early but finished with a solid performance on the mound, recording three hits, two runs and five strikeouts.

UC Irvine started scoring early with a two-run homer from outfielder Jo Oyama deep into right field. The Wildcats responded in the second with a single RBI by third baseman Raphael Pelletier followed by another single RBI from Pena to tie up the scores at the bottom of the second.

Scoring would stop until the fifth when a double by shortstop Nick Goodwin sent second base runner Brendan Jones home. Brady Day followed with a single RBI, sending Goodwin home. 

Irvine rallied in the sixth and seventh, scoring one run in each inning, setting up a tied score late in the eighth. The Wildcats finished with scores from Johnson and Pena pushing the Wildcats past UC Irvine.

Danny Suarez, starting pitcher for UC Irvine, struggled through the first five innings, recording four runs and two walks but did record seven strikeouts in his performance on the mound.

With this win the Wildcats bolster its record to 26-15 on the season (9-6 in Big 12) and look to sweep the Anteaters at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 23, at Cicerone Field.