Baseball — Kansas State pulls away from Northwestern State

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MANHATTAN, Kansas – For the first half of Tuesday’s game against Kansas State at Tointon Family Stadium, Northwestern State had an answer for each Wildcats rally.

After the midpoint, there were no answers for the Demons.

Josh Rolette’s leadoff home run in the fifth inning awakened the Wildcats’ offense, which used a seven-run eighth inning to pull away for a 16-4 victory against Northwestern State in the opener of a two-game, midweek series on an extremely windy day in northern Kansas.

“The conditions were tough, but that isn’t why the score ended the way it did,” first-year head coach Bobby Barbier said. “We didn’t play very well, and good teams make you pay when you don’t play well.”

Northwestern State (4-7) enjoyed a solid start to the day, taking advantage of a bout of wildness by Kansas State starter Colton Kalmus to score a pair of runs on only one hit.

Matthew Alford’s sacrifice fly and a bases-loaded walk by Kelsey Richard accounted for the Demons’ runs before the Wildcats (10-2) squared things with a pair of runs in their half of the first.

Demons starter Dan Hlad minimized the damage for most of his four innings but the Wildcats scratched out single runs in the third and fourth innings to take a 4-2 lead.

Trailing 4-2, Northwestern State again used Kalmus’ control issues to even the game in the fifth inning.

With two outs, a Kalmus wild pitch allowed Matt Valdez to score from third base before Alford singled home Cade Jones, who had doubled and taken third on the wild pitch.

Alford’s single drove Kalmus from the game before Jared Marolf (2-0) entered and slowed the Demons offense. Jones and Alford each had two hits to pace the Demons offense.

Tim Winders (x-x) relieved Hlad to start the fifth inning, and Rolette connected on the Wildcats’ second tiebreaking home run of the game to put Kansas State ahead. Quintin Crandall’s solo shot in the third inning had given Kansas State a 3-2 lead.

Kansas State pulled away with a three-run seventh and seven runs in the eighth inning. Marolf, Nick Jones and Mitch Zubradt combined to toss 4 1-3 shutout innings of relief.

The series continues Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m. Northwestern State will send right-hander Cullen McDonald (0-0, 1.29) to the mound to oppose Kansas State right-hander Caleb Littlejim (0-0, 0.00). Free streaming audio of the game is available on www.NSUDemons.com.

Kansas State 16, Northwestern State 4
NSU 200 020 000 – 4 5 2
KSU 201 123 07x – 16 19 1
W Jared Marolf (2-0) . L – Tim Winders (0-1). 2B – NSU, Cade Jones. KSU, Kyle Barfield, Jake Wodtke, Hanz Harker. HR – KSU, Jake Scudder (4), Josh Rolette (1), Quintin Crandall (4). Highlights: NSU, Jones 2-3, 2B; Matthew Alford 2-2, 2 RBIs. KSU, Cameron Thompson 2-4, RBI; Barfield 1-1, 2B, RBI; Wodtke 2-5, 2B, 2 RBIs; Steve Serratore 3-5, RBI; Scudder 3-6, HR, 3 RBIs; Rolette HR, RBI; Crandall 2-4, HR, RBI; Harker 3-3, 2B, RBI.

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