Wildcats take game two from Gophers

Ben Gotz

In their first game against the Gophers, it took Kansas State until the sixth inning to get its first base runner.
 
In game two on Wednesday, the Wildcats had a much easier time reaching the base paths.
 
Kansas State’s first six runners reached base in a four-run first inning, leading to a series split after a 9-0 Wildcats victory.
 
“It does change your mindset a little bit, although it shouldn’t,” sophomore Matt Fiedler said. “It was a long first inning, some unfortunate bounces … but we need to do a better job of staying with our same approach at the plate and not letting the score dictate how our at-bats go.”
 
The Gophers (19-22, 7-11 Big Ten) received stellar starting pitching in their victory over the Wildcats on Tuesday. The next day, their starter only lasted one out.
 
Freshman Reggie Meyer seemed out of sorts from his first pitch. After walking the first batter he faced, he and third baseman Tony Skjefte got tangled up when both attempted to field a bunt, allowing the runner to reach base.
 
“He’s got to let Tony field that ball,” head coach John Anderson said. “Reggie didn’t play the way he’s coached.”
 
The next batter ricocheted a ball off Meyer’s leg, but once again a miscommunication in the field — this time between Meyer and first baseman Toby Hanson — and also allowed the runner to reach base.
 
The Wildcats scored four runs off Meyer — with the last two coming off a walk with the bases loaded and a sacrifice fly — before Anderson pulled Meyer from the game after recording just one out.
 
“He looked like he was aiming the ball at home plate, and when you step out there, if you’re going to get beat or you’re going to have a tough day, at least do it by throwing it over the plate with some confidence,” Anderson said.
 
Righty Ty McDevitt was called from the bullpen to go into damage control, and he recorded two straight outs with a pickoff at first base and a fly ball to right field.
 
But the Gophers stared at a 4-0 deficit before even coming to the plate, and they were unable to get into the game.
 
The score remained the same until the top of the sixth inning, when the Wildcats added two more runs on back-to-back sacrifice flies.
 
Kansas State sacrificed another runner home in the top of the eighth inning to take a 7-0 lead.
 
The Gophers were unable to generate any offense to fight back against the Wildcats, mustering only three hits before Kansas State scored its seventh run.
 
The Gophers loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth with no outs but still didn’t score as senior Jake Bergren was tagged out at home after failing to judge whether a ball hit to center field had been caught.
 
“That’s a hard play,” Anderson said. “It’s a tough read for the baserunner.”
 
The Gophers’ next two batters struck out, leaving all three runners stranded on base. And to add insult to injury, Kansas State hit a two-run home run the next inning to reach 9-0, capping off a game they thoroughly dominated start to finish.
 
“I think tomorrow will be a big day for us to just flush out today,” Fiedler said.