K-State Baseball Splits Series With SFA; Needs To Leave Fewer Runners Stranded

The K-State Baseball team beat Stephen F. Austin State University 11-5 Wednesday to improve to 11-6 and split the two-game series with the Lumberjacks.

Senior shortstop Tyler Wolfe led the way offensively for the Wildcats, recording two runs, two walks, two hits and four RBI’s in just three at-bats. Junior second-baseman Jake Wodtke also helped, scoring twice on three hits and batting in a run.

After scoring five total runs in the first game against SFA, the Wilcats came out swinging in Wednesday’s game. They scored runs in every inning except the third when they went down without a running making it on base, all on ground-outs. Still, they scored two runs in the first, second, sixth and eighth innings, and scored a run each in the fourth, fifth, and seventh. By the fifth inning, they had matched their total from the game less than 24 hours prior.

SFA made it clear Tuesday they weren’t a team to be just ignored. They did the same thing Wednesday night in the top of the eighth inning.

Down 9-0, the Lumberjacks came up to bat after a pitching change brought in junior pitcher Colton Kalmus for the Wildcats. Junior infielderTyler Kendrick pinch hit for the Lumberjacks but grounded out to first base. Designated hitter Zach Valenzuela then was hit by a pitch. That’s when SFA got rolling.

Junior outfielder Brandon Smith hit a ground ball to third-base. Junior third-baseman Josh Ethier went to make a play but the ball hit his upper chest and fell to the turn. All runners were safe by the time Ethier could get back to it, with runners on first and second base. Next up came junior right-fielder Zach Michener, who put a ground ball between second and third, loading the bases.

By the time the smoke cleared and the Wildcats retired the side, the Lumberjacks had amounted five runs on three hits and had caused K-State’s only error in the game. They had cut the lead from 9-0 to 9-5.

Still, K-State had a four-run lead, and SFA was about to help them increase it even more.

After a gound-out by Wodtke, Wolfe was walked. Freshman outfielder Cade Bunnell then pinch hit for senior designated hitter Tyler Moore, and was also walked. Sophomore outfielder Sam Chadick then was put in to pinch run for Bunnell.

With Moore on second and Chadick at first, freshman catcher Josh Rolette came up to bat. Rolette made contact, hitting a grounder to the first-baseman who was near the bag but elected to try for the double-play at second. His throw went wild, however, hitting the sprinting Chadick in the back and bouncing up into the air and into the man covering second’s glove. Chadic was ruled safe at second, while Rolette made it to first. Moore held up at third on the play.

The next batter, freshman right-fielder Michael Smith, was then walked, causing a run to score, giving K-State a 10-5 lead. A groundout to second by junior first-baseman Jake Scudder scored Chadick, which gave K-State their final run of the game.

The Wildcats close out spring break with a three-game set against Western Carolina to complete a 12-game homestand, according to K-State Sports.

Numbers To Note:

A Tale of Two Matches: K-State scored five runs on seven hits. Wednesday, they more than twice that number in each category (11 runs, with 15 hits).

Some similarities: K-State struggled in both games against SFA with men on base. Tuesday, they left 12 runners on base. Wednesday, they left eight. In the two games they played against SFA, they averaged 10 runners stranded per game.

What The Numbers Say About SFA: Stephen F. Austin beat K-State in all three categories (hits, runs, runners left on) Tuesday. K-State outscored and out hit them both Wednesday and cumulatively. The one difference, however, is that SFA in each case left few men on base. This could mean that even if they get fewer hits, they’ll make the most of them. When SFA is on base, the numbers say they are more likely to make the opponent pay, or at least they did in this series. Conversely, K-State, may get more men on base but that doesn’t necessarily ensure any favorable result.

*Numbers courtesy of K-State Sports. Click here for their recap of Tuesday’s game, and here for their recap of Wednesday’s game.