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Wildcats Fall in NCAA Super Regional Opener, 7-4

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K-STATE ATHLETICS RELEASE

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (KStateSports.com) – A go-ahead three-run homer by Henry Godbout led the Cavaliers to victory Friday night, as Virginia defeated K-State, 7-4, in game one of the best-of-three NCAA Charlottesville Super Regional series at Disharoon Park.

K-State (35-25) took a 3-0 lead into the fifth inning, highlighted by a two-run double from Kaelen Culpepper, before UVA chipped away to grab a one-run lead.

Trailing, 4-3, K-State’s David Bishop tied the game with his fourth homer of the season in the seventh but was quickly answered with Godbout’s two-out blast in the bottom of the inning to give the Cavaliers (45-15) a 1-0 advantage in the series.

“It was a great ballgame,” head baseball coach Pete Hughes said. “That’s why you play nine innings. Virginia hung out there and capitalized on a couple opportunities. From a coaching perspective, you hate giving up runs for not being fundamentally sound. In a few instances we were, taking nothing away from Virginia’s offense, because when you hit a three-run homer with two outs, that’s usually a deciding factor in a close game, and that’s what they did.”

“Our guys will be resilient, they’ll respond, they’re a resilient group,” Hughes said. “That’s what it’s all about. You want to play in these important games in the month of June. It’s resiliency and it’s urgency to get back into this thing.”

Left-hander Owen Boerema, who is fourth all-time in K-State history with 205 career strikeouts, finished the night with five punch outs and surrendered four runs (two earned) on seven hits in his 5 2/3-inning start. With his five strikeouts, Boerema sits in a two-way tie with teammate Jackson Wentworth in the single-season records with 110.

Five Wildcats registered a hit in the nightcap with Culpepper driving in a pair of runs followed by Jaden Parsons and Bishop with one.

Freshman Blake Dean received the loss in relief of Boerema, allowing two runs (earned) in his 2/3 innings of work.

“It’s a two-out-of-three series with a quick bounce back of less than 24 hours. You have to get your team feeling good with a quick turnaround and get back into the series.”

Game two is slated for a 2 p.m. CT first pitch and features a pitching matchup between right-hander Jackson Wentworth (5-5, 4.11 ERA)  and UVA’s Jay Woolfolk (3-1, 6.15 ERA). Saturday’s game can be seen on ESPNU, while radio coverage is available on the K-State Sports Network. A free, live streaming audio is available for all games at KStateSports.com/watch and on the K-State Sports app.

THE RUNDOWN
K-State jumped on the board in the opening frame, as lead-off Brendan Jones tripled on the second pitch of the Super Regional and came across the plate on a grounder to second from Parsons.

In the bottom of the inning, UVA recorded a pair of singles to put runners on first and third, but Boerema punched out the final batter to leave runners stranded.

After a scoreless second, the Cats added two runs to the board with a two-run double from Culpepper. Raphael Pelletier singled through the right side to lead off the inning before advancing to second when Jones took one off the helmet.

The duo moved into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt from Parsons to bring Culpepper to the plate. The junior shortstop roped a 2-1 pitch off the left field wall to extend the Cats lead to three.

The Cavaliers left runners on base for the fourth consecutive inning, highlighted by an inning-ending double play by Parsons in the third.

UVA broke through in the fifth after capitalizing on a fielding error, before taking the lead in the sixth with a two-run, ground-rule double.

Bishop used one swing to even the score, as the Cats first baseman belted his fourth homer of the season 394-feet off the scoreboard in right center.

With two outs, a three-run homer by Henry Godbout snapped the tie in the bottom of the seventh.

INSIDE THE BOX

  • K-State scored four runs on five hits with one error committed and left two runners on base.
  • UVA scored seven runs on nine hits, committed one error, and stranded nine men on base.
  • Five different Wildcats recorded a hit.
  • Culpepper drove in two RBI, followed by Parsons and Bishop with one.
  • Dean (4-4) took the loss in relief, allowing two runs (two earned) on one hit in his 2/3 innings of work.
  • UVA’s Blanco (8-3) was credited the victory, surrendering four runs (four earned) in his seven inning start with nine strikeouts.
  • Boerema logged 5 2/3 innings in his 19th start of the season, allowing four runs (two earned) with five strikeouts.
  • K-State went 1-for-5 (.200) with runners on base and .250 (1-for-4) with men in scoring position while UVA hit .238 (5-for-21) with runners and went 2-for-14 (.143) in scoring position.

NOTES

  • K-State is 10-4 this season in series openers – 2-3 in openers on the road. 
  • The Wildcats have homered in four of their last five games (9).
  • Culpepper turned in his 13th multi-RBI game of the year, and stretched his hitting streak to nine.
  • The Cats are 10-9 overall in the NCAA Tournament, including 1-3 in the Super Regionals.