Falcons return to win column, beat Wildcats 4-3
MANHATTAN, Kan.– The Air Force ended a six-game losing streak on Wednesday, as Doyle Gehring picked up his fifth stoppage of the season to close out the 4-3 victory.
Gabriel Garcia paced the Falcons’ lineup, finishing 3-5 with a solo home run. Garcia’s solo shot, a line homer to the opposite court in the 3rd inning, was his second of the season. Jake Greivingthe other Falcon with multiple hits, was 2-5 with one run scored.
At Aerik Joe’s two RBI double outs to the right field line broke a 3-3 tie in the 7th, as the Air Force shortstop finished the day 1-4.
Kyle Moat made his first start of the season, proving to be an effective opener. Moats went to 4.0 IP, allowing just two hits and a run to go with two strikeouts. Duke Benge, who entered the 6th, set the tone in the back of the Air Force bullpen. Benge, the winning pitcher, scattered two hits, producing double plays in his two working innings.
Zach Argo followed Benge and worked around a base-loaded jam in the 8th. Gehring didn’t let a walk with two outs evolve into further trouble, as the second made his 5th save of 2022 while striking out a pair in the 9th.
Air Force started strong, as singles from Sam Kulasingam, Garcia and Greiving eventually led in the first heat of the afternoon. Garcia’s solo home run and a two-out pitching error by Kansas State pitcher Collin Rothermel took the Falcons to 3-0 in the 3rd.
Kansas State scored the next three runs, as the Wildcats eventually tied the game in 6th after an RBI single.
At the top of the 7th, walks for two from Braydon Altorfer and Jay Thomasson brought Aerik Joe on the plate. After working the full count, Joe doubled a brace beyond first baseman’s reach, scoring Altorfer and giving the Air Force a 4-3 lead.
Round 8 of Argo turned out to be a rollercoaster ride. The elder walked a first base, but a fly out and strikeout saw the game tied again early.
Argo then allowed a single and hit a batter, as bases were suddenly loaded with two outs. With KSU’s Orlando Salinas at the plate, a backup slider went in and out of Altorfer’s glove and was misjudged by third-row runner Cole Johnson. Altorfer retrieved the baseball and waited at home plate while Johnson was tagged trying to score.
Gehring opened the 9th with a strikeout and a lineout before missing the strike zone on a 3-2 count. With a runner on first and two on the outside, a slow pitch to shortstop was turned upside down when Joe transferred from his glove to his throwing hand, putting the tying run in second. Even so, Gehring slammed the door, earning a strikeout to end the ball game.
Next, the Air Force returns to Falcon Field for a three-game series with New Mexico, beginning Friday, March 25.