The BatCats won their seventh game in their last ten contests against the Wichita State Shockers 7-2 Wednesday night. The sky was as gloomy as the Shockers’ chances of beating the red-hot Cats after Wichita State had lost eleven of their last thirteen prior contests including a current four game losing streak.
Andrew Stratman got his first start of the season and entered the game with a 2-0 record and a 5.03 ERA. Stratman went 3.1 innings giving up two earned runs, four hits, three walks, and three punch-outs. Jaxon Passino then came in and delivered a dominant performance to help the Cats get to the ninth inning. Passino ended the day pitching 4.2 innings only allowing one hit, no earned runs, one walk, and five K’s in 58 pitches which resulted in him getting the win. Mitch Zubradt then delivered a two strikeout ninth inning to finish off the Shockers.
K-State baseball head coach Pete Hughes has a lot of confidence that Passino can continue delivering the goods for the rest of the season. “He’s a strike thrower,” said Hughes. “We always trust his ability to throw strikes and sometimes it’s a good matchup, and tonight was a really good matchup for him. He settled everyone down and gave our offense a chance to work.”
The bats took a while to warm up on a chilly Wednesday night. It wasn’t until the fifth when K-State got their first run via an RBI single by Caleb Littlejim to make it a 2-1 game. The Cats got another run in the bottom of the sixth thanks to a single by Zach Kokoska that allowed Will Brennan to score which tied the game at two.
This is when the flood gates began to open. Things started with a Terrance Spurlin single with no one on and no one out. This was followed up by a Dylan Phillips single to advance the pinch runner Jordan Maxson. Rainer Ausmus came in the game and got a pinch hit single to load the bases with one out. Cam Thompson was up next and the pressure got to him and hit a can of corn to the left fielder which brought up Will Brennan. Two outs and the bases loaded was clearly not enough pressure for the superstar slugging junior as he went deep for the fourth time this season to blow the game open.
Rain began to fall after the Cats got all those runs and the majority of the fans left the stadium, confident that the bullpen would take care of business and get six more outs without allowing four or more runs. The Cats were able to hold on to their lead and, in fact, grew their lead to five with another RBI single from Caleb Littlejim.
Coach Hughes had nothing but the highest of praise for the junior centerfielder after the game. “With two outs and you get your guy up to the plate, and for him to deliver, that’s what it looks like,” said Coach Hughes. “It was something we really needed at that time and kind of gave everybody a chance to breathe deep.”
It was business as usual for Brennan and he knew exactly what to do and executed the team’s game plan. Brennan said, “It could have been anybody, and I was just lucky to be the spot I was in. Everyone has picked me up this year and I pick up them. That’s just what we do as a team and as brothers.”
K-State is tied for sixth with TCU at 6-9 in conference play and remain the only team in the Big 12 that has an overall record under .500 (22-24). The Cats battle it out with the Baylor Bears in Waco this weekend starting with Friday’s game starting at 6:30 p.m.