GAME RECAP NR LIBERTY FLAMES 4-3 (0-0 Big South) NR K-STATE WILDCATS 6-2 (0-0 Big 12) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E LIB 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 3 8 2 KST 1 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 X 4 6 2
W: Rigler (1-0) L: Bertsch (0-1) S: Floyd (4)
LEXINGTON, S.C. The Kansas State baseball team continued its best start to a season since 2011 with a 4-3 comeback victory over Liberty Sunday at Lexington County Stadium.
K-State (6-2) scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to take a 3-2 and held on for its second straight come-from-behind win against Liberty (4-3). The Wildcats 6-2 start to the season is its best since the 2011 season when K-State started 11-2.
Again, another tough win by our guys, said head coach Brad Hill. Coming into the season, we stressed the importance of winning one-run games. Those are games that can turn an average season into a really good season. They arent easy to win, but so far weve been on the right side of it.
K-State is 4-0 in 2017 in games decided by one run, already eclipsing last seasons win total of three. By comparison, the Cats were just 3-10 in one-run games in 2016.
Both teams were able to get a run across in the opening inning. Liberty got three singles off K-State starting pitcher Parker Rigler and the Wildcats leveled the score with an RBI single by Jake Scudder in the home half.
After the first, Rigler surrendered just one hit and, at one point, retired seven straight Flame batters, but LU managed to push across the go-ahead run in the fourth inning by way of a bases-loaded walk. The senior lefty threw five innings and gave up two earned runs while striking out four in earning his first win of the season.
Headed into the fifth, Liberty starting pitcher Jackson Bertsch had set down 10 straight Wildcat batters but senior third baseman Quintin Crandall led off the inning with a walk. Following a single by junior Hanz Harker and freshman Will Brennan being hit by a pitch, the Cats had the bases loaded and nobody out.
Freshman leadoff hitter Cameron Thompson reached on a fielders choice that scored Crandall to tie the game at two. A second hit batsman of the inning loaded the bases for a second time and Harker scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch by Bertsch.
Sophomore catcher Josh Rolette singled home Scudder in the sixth to increase the Wildcat lead to 4-2.
In relief of Rigler, freshman Kasey Ford and senior Nick Jones held Liberty scoreless over a combined 2 1/3 innings to get the ball to closer Jordan Floyd in the eighth.
The senior left-hander converted a five-out save for his fourth save in four opportunities this season.
Hitting in the cleanup spot, Scudder finished the day 2-for-4 with a double, RBI and run scored.
Crandall went 1-for-2 with a walk and a run, extending his on-base streak to 15 games, dating back to 2016, and is the only Wildcat to hit safely in all eight K-State games this season.
K-State will open its home schedule Friday, March 3 with the first of three games vs. Eastern Illinois. First pitch for the home opener is slated for 3 p.m., and will be broadcast worldwide on K-StateHD.TV. Fans can listen to Matt Walters (play-by-play) and Blair DeBord (analyst) call all three games with EIU on KMAN 1350 AM, 93.3 FM and streaming free online at k-statesports.com.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
K-State scored four runs on eight hits and committed two errors and left six runners on base. Liberty scored three runs on eight hits and committed two errors while stranding 11 baserunners.
Liberty left 11 men on base for the second straight game vs. K-State.
The win was Riglers fifth career victory.
Scudder was the only Wildcat to record multiple hits on the day, his second multi-hit game of the weekend. He now leads the team with three doubles.
K-State hitters struck out a season-high 10 times.
K-State pitchers held LU to just 2-for-14 (.143) with runners in scoring position
On the season, K-State relievers have inherited 22 runners and have only allowed two to score (9%)
Thompson went 1-for-4 with an RBI and stole his second base of the season. The freshman leads the team with a .371 average.
K-State now leads the all-time series with Liberty, 3-0.
Crandall and Rolette have each reached base safely in all eight K-State games this season.
Crandall extended his on-base streak to 15 games, dating back to last season, and is the only Wildcat to hit safely in each game this season.
Entering Sunday, K-State led the Big 12 with a team ERA of 2.29.
K-State is 4-0 in one-run games this season and were 3-10 in games decided by one run in 2016.
The Wildcats have outscored opponents 8-2 in the first inning this season. Their eight first-inning runs are second-most in any single inning (12 in the sixth).
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