MANHATTAN — Kansas State's baseball team scored runs in chunks on Friday afternoon — a rapid pace that would make their fellow Big 12-champion football program across the parking lot proud.
The top-seeded Wildcats, playing host to their first NCAA regional in school history, exploded for nine runs in the first inning and shredded No. 4-seeded Wichita State 20-11 before a sold-out crowd at Tointon Family Stadium.
Kansas State's Ross Kivett, the Big 12 Player of the Year, hit a pair of two-run home runs, in the sixth and seventh, to add insult to injury for WSU, his second blast extending the Wildcats' lead to 18-9. He had only one career homer entering the game.
Kansas State, 42-17 and ranked No. 15 by Baseball America, scored in every inning except the second. The Wildcats totaled 19 hits, including eight of the nine starters recording hits, six with multi-hit games.
It turned into a debacle, as well an embarrassment, for the Missouri Valley Conference-champion Shockers, 39-27, who walked nine Kansas State batters and hit six others — the second-most ever in an NCAA tournament game.
“That was kind of an ugly game,” Kansas State head coach Brad Hill said. “Neither team wanted to play like that. It was ugly, but we won and that is the good thing about it.
"Offensively, we did a tremendous job of covering ourselves today. Don’t get me wrong, I’m an offensive guy so I love the 20 runs, I just hate giving up 11. Give the guys a lot of credit. They did not give away at-bats today.”
Kivett led the way with four hits and four runs batted in, while Tanner Witt also had four hits and drove in one run. Jon Davis had four RBI.
Kansas State’s 20 runs were the most in its NCAA Tournament history, topping a 16-run effort against Xavier in 2009, while they were the most by a Wildcats team overall since a 20-2 victory over Chicago State on April 28, 2010. K-State’s 19 hits were also a season high and the most since collecting 21 at San Diego State early in 2012.
The Wildcats were not without their struggles, however, as they allowed five two-run innings and gave up their second-most runs in a regional game.
After Wichita State scored two runs in the top off the first, the Wildcats sent 15 men to the plate in the bottom half, highlighted by two-run singles by Davis and Austin Fisher. Mitch Meyer and Witt hit RBI singles, and K-State also received a pair of bases-loaded walks with Davis and Jared King at-bat. Another run scored on an error.
The nine runs in the first inning were the most by a Kansas State team in a regional game, topping an eight-run third inning in their first-ever regional game against Xavier in 2009. The 11 combined runs in the first inning tied a NCAA record for first-inning runs in a tournament game.
Meyer went 2-for-5 and drove in three runs, including a two-run double in the third inning. Fisher, who has had just one at-bat in the last five games, earned his first start since the opener against Oklahoma and shined by going 3-for-4 with three RBI. Fisher has hit safely in 19 of his last 20 games as he lost an 18-game hitting streak in last week’s Big 12 Championship by going 0-for-1 against Texas Tech before being pulled due to an injury.
Left-handed reliever Jared Moore (4-0) earned the win after allowing two runs on four hits in 2.1 innings of work. The Boulder, Colo., product struck out a season-high four batters, including two in the third inning to put a stop to a potential big inning.
Wichita State starting pitcher Cale Elam (7-5) suffered the loss as he allowed six of the first-inning runs and recorded just one out. The Shockers had four hitters with two-hit games, including Johnny Coy, who had four RBI.
• Bryant 4, Arkansas 1
Kansas State plays Bryant (R.I.) in tonight's winners' bracket at 7 after the third-seeded Northeast Conference champs won their first NCAA tournament game, toppling No. 2-seeded Arkansas on Friday night.
John Mullen went 3-for-4 with two RBI for Bryant. Kevin Brown's run-scoring single in the eighth broke a 1-1 tie for the Bulldogs, 45-16-1.
The Razorbacks, 37-21, scored their lone run on Jake Wise's bases-loaded walk in the fifth. They were held to three hits by a group of three pitchers.
— Mack McClure
— Mack McClure