Baseball — Demons’ bats awaken, but Kansas State pulls away for sweep

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MANHATTAN, Kansas – The Northwestern State baseball team’s offense produced its first multi-home run game of the 2017 season Wednesday afternoon at Kansas State.

Unfortunately for the Demons, the Wildcats’ offense was equal to the task.

Kansas State connected on five home runs, including a pair from Steve Serratore, en route to a 19-9, eight-inning run-rule victory against Northwestern State in the finale of a two-game midweek series.

Northwestern State (4-8) dropped its second straight to the Wildcats despite the first career home runs from Austin Townsend and Cade Jones.

Townsend’s second-inning, three-run home run came in his fourth career at-bat and erased a 2-0 lead for Kansas State (11-2).

The lift from Townsend’s home run was short-lived as Serratore’s two-run home run sparked a five-run second inning against NSU starter Cullen McDonald (0-1).

Serratore added a three-run shot in the fourth inning, pushing the Wildcats’ lead to 10-4 before the Demons put together their largest single-inning run total of the season.

Jones led off the inning with a home run off Wildcats reliever Kasey Ford, starting a five-run fifth inning that closed the deficit to one.

Ford issued a bases-loaded walk to Hunter Uzzle to force in a run before being relieved by Nick Jones (3-0), who inherited the bases-loaded jam.

Following an RBI walk by Matt Valdez, David Fry pulled the Demons to within a run with a two-run single to center field.

That was as close as Northwestern State came Wednesday as the Wildcats followed a similar blueprint as they did in Tuesday’s series opener – score late runs to pull away.

Connor Rule homered in the sixth inning before Jake Scudder capped a seven-RBI day with a seventh-inning grand slam.

Tyler Smith produced NSU’s lone multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 while Scudder (3-for-5) and Serrartore (3-for-3) combined for 12 RBIs for the Wildcats.

The Demons open Southland Conference play Friday at Brown-Stroud Field against Nicholls. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. as Northwestern State looks to win its 11th straight conference game dating to April 24, 2016.

Kansas State 19, Northwestern State 9 (8 innings)
NSU 031 050 00 – 9 7 3
KSU 250 301 53 – 19 19 2
W – Nick Jones (3-0). L – Cullen McDonald (0-1). 2B – NSU, Regan Kaufman; Tyler Smith. KSU, Jake Scudder; Quintin Crandall. HR – NSU, Austin Townsend (1); Cade Jones (1). KSU, Cameron Thompson (1); Steve Serratore 2 (4); Jake Scudder (5); Connor Rule (1). Highlights: NSU, Smith 2-4; Townsend HR, 3 RBIs; Jones HR. KSU, Thompson 4-6, HR, 2 RBIs; Jake Wodtke 2-4, RBI; Serratore 3-3, 2 HRs, 5 RBIs; Scudder 3-5, 2B, HR, 7 RBIs; Crandall 2-5, 2B, RBI; Hanz Harker 2-4; Rule HR, RBI; Will Brennan 2-3.
Records: Northwestern State 4-8; Kansas State 11-2.

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