LAWRENCE, Kan. – In the highest scoring game in series history, K-State won 21-18 over Kansas to complete the Dillons Sunflower Showdown sweep at Hoglund Ballpark on Sunday.
The Cats (24-14, 9-6 Big 12) used a season-high 19 hits to score 21 runs in the series finale to grab the program’s first road sweep over the Jayhawks (17-18, 5-7 Big 12) since 2013.
“Today was a mental toughness day,” said head coach Pete Hughes. “With these conditions, it’s not baseball but you just have to put yourself in a different place mentally and not watch the scoreboard.”
“You play for your next at bat, keep your head down, pick it up at the end of the game and hopefully you’re in a good spot. That’s what we did today,” Hughes said.
Kyler Heyne (3-0) picked up the victory in relief and allowed just two earned runs during his two innings with four strikeouts.
Three Wildcats had multiple RBI in the win led by Kaelen Culpepper and Kyan Lodice with six each while Cash Rugely had four.
“It’s our program goal to win this series every year but to get a sweep in someone’s park is a tough thing to do, especially in this league. It helps us to make up for some loss ground from earlier in the season.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
After a scoreless first inning, K-State used 13 runs on 11 hits to take control of the series finale.
Roberto Pena led off with his ninth homer of the season to open scoring. The Cats strung together two consecutive hits and a walk to load the bases before Cash Rugely roped a single into center to double the Cats lead, 2-0.
With no outs, Lodice recorded his second homer of the series with his first collegiate grand slam. The redshirt freshman launched a 3-2 pitch 425-feet out to center field to clear the bases.
Kaelen Culpepper blasted the Cats third homer of the inning and his fourth of the season to expand the lead out to expand the lead out to eight, 8-0.
The Cats would add five runs to the board for their second 10-plus run inning this season.
Kansas snapped the shutout in the third frame with seven runs to make it a 13-7 ball game.
The Wildcats and Jayhawks exchanged 18 runs over the final six innings in the highest-scoring game in series history.
INSIDE THE BOX
- K-State scored 21 runs on 19 hits with two errors
- The Wildcats scored 13 runs in the second inning
- Second time this season Cats posted a 10+ run inning
- Lodice launched his first collegiate grand slam; Cats fifth of the season
- Culpepper had his first multi-home run game
- First 10+ run against KU since 2017
- Heyne picked up his third win with four strikeouts
- Highest scoring game in series history; surpassed KU’s 22-16 win on May 15, 1931
- Nine different players recorded a hit; seven had multiple
- Day produced his third straight three-hit game
- Rugely, Day and Johnson each had three hits
- Culpepper and Lodice each led with six-RBI
- Bullpen combined for 11 earned runs and 11 strikeouts
- Rugely reached base for the 20th straight game followed by Day (17) and Pelletier (14)
- KU scored 18 runs on 17 hits with four errors
- Each team stranded 12 on base
- Cats lead the all-time series 186-177-1 and are 74-92 in Lawrence
- First road sweep over KU since 2013
- The Wildcats move to 11-7 in true road games
- First team to reach nine conference wins
- K-State is the only team to have five Big 12 victories on the road
- The win jumps the Cats to third in the conference standings at 9-6
The Cats will head home to host in-state rival Wichita State (20-15, 5-4 American) on Tuesday, April 18 at 6 p.m. inside Tointon Family Stadium. The game can be seen on the Big 12 Now on ESPN+ and the ESPN app with radio coverage available on KMAN (93.3FM/1350AM) and a free live audio available at kstatesports.com/watch.