The hot start for the Kansas State Wildcats continued Thursday afternoon in Columbia, SC, as the visiting BatCats picked up a big early lead against the #4 South Carolina Gamecocks and held on a middle-inning flurry to win 6-5 and extend their early season record to 4-1.
Gamecock starting pitcher John Parke walked the first two Wildcat batters on the afternoon, then after a strikeout, Cat first-baseman Jake Scudder began the scoring with a one-run double and eventually scored himself as the Cats scored four runs in the first. Parke was chased after only two outs in the first, and was carded with all four Wildcat runs in the first inning. Scudder led the Cats on offense, carding three hits and three RBI, including a big 2-run homerun in the top of the 4th that gave the Cats the final margin.
Wildcat starter Colton Kalmus lasted three innings and gave up two earned runs on a two-run homerun in the bottom of the third before retiring for the afternoon. His replacement, freshman Caleb Littlejim was ejected from the game after giving up two hits and a run for having rosin on his non-throwing forearm. The Wildcats averaged a pitcher an inning, as second-year pitching coach Tyler Kincaid has not been hesitant to pull the trigger on pitching replacements so far this season, until senior Jordan Floyd came in for his third save appearance of the season in the bottom of the 8th, and faced five batters, carding one strikeout and giving up one hit, to preserve the upset.
Wildcat freshman Jared Marolf, who had a big game in the season opener against Ohio State, was credited with the win after throwing and inning and two-thirds replacing Littlejim, he gave up three hits and two runs before giving way to senior Nick Jones. Freshman Kasey Ford had three big outs, notching the last out in the 7th, with an assist from center-fielder Cameron Thompson, and then getting the first two outs in the 8th on a pair of strikeouts.
The Cats got their six runs on just five hits, and couldn’t muster any offense after Scudder’s two-run blast in the 4th. Thompson, Jake Wodtke, and Josh Rolette were the other Wildcats to record hits on the afternoon.
Next up for the Wildcats is a 1:00pm CT tilt against currently-unbeaten St. John’s tomorrow, Friday. The Red Storm have scored 41 runs in their first four games, hitting 14 and 13 in their first two games of the season last Friday and Saturday, before a pair of 7-run wins to cap off the weekend.