MANHATTAN, Kan. – K-State’s offense backed quality outings from starters Carson Seymour and Connor McCullough with 20 total runs Friday, as the Wildcats swept a doubleheader with Fairleigh Dickinson, 8-1 and 12-1, in the first games played at the newly renovated Tointon Family Stadium.
K-State (5-5) saw three players homer on the day, as Terrence Spurlin, Cameron Thompson and Kamron Willman each lifted their first home runs of the season. Spurlin produced a team-high five hits in the doubleheader, going 5 for 7 with 3 doubles and six runs batted in.
“It’s tough to beat anyone twice, it’s tough to be out here for 18 innings and keep your energy and I thought we did that,” said head coach Pete Hughes. “We played clean baseball, for the most part, and I thought our pitching stayed strong. It’s been pretty consistent all year long and that was indicative of today’s two games.
“Really happy to get the bats going those last two innings. Sometimes that’s all you need is two innings to get all the pressure off everyone’s back and get in the box relaxed. Hopefully that will carry over for tomorrow.”
K-State scored nine runs across its final two innings Friday, highlighted by a six-run eighth in which the Cats brought 10 batters to the plate. In the inning, Willman homered to go along with RBI doubles from Spurlin and Zach Hogueisson.
McCullough capped the day by striking out a career-best nine over seven innings of work without allowing an earned run. The redshirt freshman held Fairleigh Dickinson (1-5) without a hit until the sixth inning, retiring 14 of the first 16 he faced, as he scattered three hits in his third consecutive quality outing to begin his Wildcat career.
“He made some big pitches,” Hughes said of McCullough. “You’ve got the no-hitter going through [the fifth inning]. It’s easier to pitch when you’re on a roll and no one is on base, but when guys get on base you’ve got to make big pitches – 3-2 breaking balls – and execute, and he did that. He’s proven that he can make big pitches in situations. He’s going to have to do that in the Big 12.”
McCullough put down 10 straight FDU hitters until Nate Brodsky’s one-out double in the sixth.
Seymour set career highs in innings (6.0) and strikeouts (7) in earning his first career victory. The redshirt sophomore righty yielded one run (unearned) on four hits in the day’s opener.
Thompson recorded a pair of hits in each game, going 2 for 3 with two RBI and two walks in game one before a 2 for 5 effort in the nightcap. Thompson, a senior, eclipsed the 200-hit mark for his career and extended his on-base streak to 14 games dating back to last season.
In total, the Cats collected 11 extra-base hits (seven doubles, a triple and three home runs) in the doubleheader. K-State combined to out-hit the Knights 27-8.
The Cats ended with nine two-out RBI in the second game of the day, hitting .538 (7 for 13) with runners in scoring position and .500 (8 for 16) with two outs.
K-State and Fairleigh Dickinson wrap up the three-game set Saturday at 4 p.m. at Tointon Family. The games will be broadcast on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ with radio coverage on News Radio KMAN (93.3 FM, 1350 AM). Free, live audio is also available on K-StateSports.com/watch.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- K-State scored eight runs on 13 hits with two errors and left 10 on base in game one.
- Fairleigh Dickinson scored one run on five hits without an error and stranded six baserunners.
- In game two, the Wildcats scored 12 runs on 14 hits with two errors and stranded seven.
- FDU scored one run on three hits and committed two errors while leaving five on base in game two.
- Spurlin paced the Cats by going 5 for 7 with three doubles, a home run and six RBI.
- Three Wildcats lifted their first home runs of the season: Spurlin, Thompson, Willman.
- K-State produced nine two-out RBI in the second game.
- K-State set season highs in runs (12) and hits (14) in game two.
- The Cats out-hit FDU 27-8 and held an 11-1 edge in extra-base hits.
- Garrett, Hughes and Hogueisson each collected their first hits in a Wildcat uniform.
- Five K-State pitchers combined to strike out 20 hitters while not allowing an earned run across the two games.
- Friday marked the first-ever meetings between K-State and Fairleigh Dickinson.
- The Cats have won seven of their last eight home openers.
- K-State opened its home schedule in the month of February for the first time since 2006.
- Thompson made his 177th consecutive start for the Wildcats.
- With four hits Friday, Thompson eclipsed the 200-hit plateau for his career.
- Thompson extended his on-base streak to 14 games, dating back to last season.
Source: Kansas State Sports