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Friday Regional Scores
Kansas State Bombards Xavier
By Allen Brown
Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com
Despite not making an appearance
in an NCAA game in its 109 years of existence, Kansas State came
out swinging and made itself right at home at Reckling Park on
Friday afternoon, scoring four runs in the first inning and
eight more in the third and cruising to a 16-8 victory over
First baseman Justin Bloxom lead
the assault for K State, going 5 for 5 with two home runs, two
doubles and five RBI, and right fielder Jordan Cruz went 3 for 4
with five RBI. Cruz’s three-run, tape-measure home run into the
trees beyond the right-field fence was the big blow for the
Wildcats in their eight-run fourth.
The Wildcats (42-16-1) were
aggressive at the plate throughout the game with several of
their hits coming on the first pitch or early in the count.
“[Assistant] coach Sawyers really
had the guys prepared for today,” KSU coach Brad Hill said.
Added Bloxom: “The ball was
carrying real well to right field…when you see that, you tend to
get a little more aggressive.”
K State immediately instituted
its aggressive game plan in the first inning as Clayton Jurica
doubled, Nick Martini had a RBI single and Bloxom singled on
three straight pitches with one out. Jason King then drove a RBI
single to right field on the second pitch he saw to give the
Wildcats a 2-0 lead. With two outs, Cruz’s line drive to
left-center just in front of centerfielder Adam Pasono plated
two more runs.
off the Kansas State third with a home run to right. Cruz
followed later in the inning with his three-run shot to give the
Cats an 8-0 lead and chase Zac Richard (4-1). Lefty Tommy
Shirley relieved Richard but fared no better as the Wildcats
tallied four more runs, thanks to a two-run single by Martini
and a two-run double from Bloxom.
Of note, senior lefty Lance Hoge
(6-4) was the starting and winning pitcher for Kansas State.
Wildcats ace A.J. Morris, who is 13-1 on the season, did not
appear in the game and will start Saturday. Hoge worked five
adequate innings, yielding three earned runs on eight hits. He
was aided considerably by double-play grounders in both the
fourth and fifth innings.
Hill, in explaining the strategy
to pitch Hoge instead of Morris, said the decision was made
based on Hoge’s favorable matchup against the Musketeers
(38-20), in particular the left-handed power bat of Ben Thomas,
and his ability to limit Xavier’s running game.
Xavier designated hitter Bobby
Freking went 3 for 5 with a two-run homer in the ninth and drove