Quality start from Adams, three homers help Cats win 6-3
MANHATTAN, Kan. – K-State reached a season high with three home runs, including a solo shot from Dominique Johnson in the eighth, to be associated with a quality start Blake Adams in the Wildcats’ 6-3 win over Central Connecticut State in Saturday’s series opener at Tointon Family Stadium.
Johnson’s homer broke a 3-3 tie after Central Connecticut State (3-2) scored a run in the top of the eighth to tie the score. K-State (5-7) finished with three runs down the frame, also earning an RBI single of Justin Mitchell and an RBI double of Cole Johnson.
Adams recorded his third straight quality start, scattering six hits with a pair of runs allowed over his six innings on the job. The junior right-hander has struck out seven as the Arkansas transfer has at least seven punches in all four starts this season.
“Another good start by Blake Adams,” the head coach Pete Hughes noted. “He’s a veteran team he’s pitching against – a playoff-proven team that puts the ball in play. He threw big; he was awesome. It was all based on him starting. And we just had enough attack at the start to get us Go.
“I was proud that our team played in the eighth inning when the score was tied, and we fought back to take (the lead) and win a game from the eighth inning.”
Making his first start of the season, designated hitter Jeff Heinrich threw a two-run home run in the third inning. Heinrich, a senior transfer from South Carolina, produced a three-hit day (3 for 4).
“We were waiting for him to get healthy, he’s an explosive bat,” Hughes said of Heinrich. “He would have had shots sooner if he was healthy. He was cleared yesterday afternoon, so we brought him in and got some depth. There were still jobs to be won. He was ready From then on he kept his head in the right place so that once his number was called he could give us a quality outing.”
“I was excited, I was looking forward to getting back into the lineup,” Heinrich said. “I am very grateful to have had this opportunity and happy to have taken advantage of it.”
Heinrich’s first home run as the Wildcat erased a 1-0 lead over Blue Devil, a lead in which they earned a solo home run from Jeff Nicol at third. Nicol’s homer was the first hit of the day given up by Adams, who sat the first seven CCSU batters he faced.
In the fourth, Josh Nicoloff extended K-State’s lead with a first home run. It was K-State’s second home run of the day and Nicoloff’s second of the year.
Central Connecticut State missed a run on a failed out attempt in the sixth before tying the game in the eighth via an RBI miss from Elliot Good’s bat.
CCSU threatened in the fifth with runners at second and third and just one out, but Adams struck out back-to-back batters to avoid damage.
Ty Ruhl took over from Adams and recorded the final three innings in relief, earning the victory after an earned run on three hits. Ruhl hit a pair and walked one in his first collegiate win.
Adams and Ruhl combined to keep Central Connecticut State averaging .077 with runners in scoring position (1 for 13) with 12 runners remaining on base.
From the starting point, Dominique Johnson went 2-for-4 and scored his first homer as a Wildcat.
Randy Reyes suffered the loss as he gave up three runs on four hits in 1 2/3 innings of relief.
Reyes replaced starter Dominic Niman. Niman went six innings and allowed seven hits and three runs with three strikeouts.
Mike Torniero led the Blue Devils offensively with three hits, going 3 for 5.
MOMENTS THAT MATTER
Heinrich lifted a two-run home run late in the third while Nicoloff extended the Wildcat lead with a solo shot in the fourth.
by Dominic Johnson the first home run in the eighth broke a 3-3 tie and sparked a three-run inning for K-State. Also in the eighth, Mitchell added an RBI single and Cole Johnson roped in a double RBI.
Central Connecticut State threatened in the top of the fifth as it got runners at second and third with one out. Adams escaped the jam after consecutive strikeouts.
Adams again minimized the damage in the sixth after Sam Loda walked and Torniero scored a single, handing the CCSU runners into the corners with no one on. The Blue Devils made just one run in the inning, following a failed takedown attempt.
INSIDE THE BOX
- K-State scored six runs on 12 hits, had two errors and allowed five on base.
- Central Connecticut State scored three runs on nine error-free hits and failed 12 base runners.
- Heinrich led K-State with three hits, going 3 for 4 with two RBIs, including his first homer as a Wildcat.
- Dominique Johnson and Nicoloff also homered in the game.
- The Cats have had five consecutive games and six of the last seven.
- Dominique Johnson produced the Wildcats’ other multi-hit play with a 2-for-4 effort.
- Cole Johnson and Mitchell each drove a race.
- Adams recorded his third straight quality start of the season.
- Ruhl was credited with his first collegiate win after three relief runs.
- Torniero went 3 for 5 to lead CCSU.
- Nicol homered and Good was 2-for-4 with an RBI.
- The Blue Devils were held at 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position and 2 for 11 with two outs.
- K-State went 3 for 10 with two outs with three two-out RBIs.
- K-State leads the all-time series 2-0 as it was the first meeting since 2000.
- It was the first meeting in Manhattan between the teams.
- The Cats are 17-2 against teams in the Northeastern Conference.
- Salinas reached base safely in all 11 games he appeared in while Goodwin pushed his on-base streak to 10 games.
- Goodwin and Salinas are each on eight-game hitting streaks.
- Dominique Johnson is on a seven-game hitting streak while Nicoloff has hit safely in the last six games.
K-State continues its streak with Central Connecticut State with a doubleheader Sunday starting at 1 p.m. The second half of the double dive will begin approximately 45 minutes after the end of the first game. Both games will be televised on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ with radio coverage on News Radio KMAN (93.3 FM, 1350 AM). Free live audio is also available at K-StateSports.com/Watch.