Pitching, Two-Run Eighth Key 3-2 Comeback Win




14-18 (5-4 Big 12)

14-19 (1-8 Big 12)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
UT 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 7 0
KST 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 X 3 8 0
W: Benenati (1-1) L: Shugart (1-1) S: ---
  • Time of Game: 2:48
  • First Pitch: 1:05 pm
  • Temperature: 73 F
  • Wind: N 5-10
  • Attendance: 2,331

MANHATTAN, Kan. – A pinch-hit RBI single by Cade Bunnell scored the first of two runs in the eighth inning while a trio of pitchers limited Texas to one run for the first eight frames as K-State came back and defeated Texas, 3-2, on Sunday at Tointon Family Stadium.

The Wildcats (14-19, 1-8 Big 12) avoided the sweep at the hands of Texas (14-18, 5-4 Big 12) and earned their first Big 12 win by overcoming a Longhorn second-inning run with a game-tying run in the seventh and two in the eighth. Clayton Dalrymple tied it with a sacrifice fly in the seventh while Bunnell gave K-State its first lead of the weekend with his two-out single off the glove of a diving Zane Gurwitz up the middle in the eighth. Quintin Crandall later scored in the frame when Texas failed in its attempt to put out pinch-runner Sam Chadick in a rundown following a single by Michael Smith.

“I keep throwing him in there,” said Hill about Bunnell, who is 5-for-16 as a pinch hitter this season. “He has swung a pretty good bat the last couple weeks. He did what we talked about. Not trying to do too much, try to hit the ball back up the middle.”

Lucas Benenati earned the win after getting the final six outs for K-State and striking out three. The right-hander worked a 1-2-3 eighth before surrendering a one-out homer to Gurwitz in the ninth that cut the Wildcats’ lead to 3-2. Benenati induced a pop out and groundout, however, to end the game.

Corey Fischer did not factor into the decision but held the Longhorns to one run on four hits and a walk in four innings for his longest outing since March 4 vs. UAPB. The senior also struck out four as the Wildcats combined for nine total punchouts against one walk.

“It was really about the pitching today,” said Hill. “We have really struggled on the mound, controlling (Texas).”

Brandon Erickson relieved Fischer and blanked the Longhorns for three innings. The senior got out of a two-on jam in fifth when left fielder Crandall threw out Michael Cantu at home to end the frame. Erickson went on to retire six in a row to end his day.

K-State had its chances early as it put a runner in scoring position in three straight innings from the second through the fourth. The Wildcats loaded the bases in the fourth with one out, but Texas starting pitcher Kyle Johnston escaped the threat with a strikeout and a groundout. The two outs to end the fourth were part of Johnston’s eight straight retired through the sixth inning.

Johnston started the seventh, but after a leadoff single by Crandall and a failed sacrifice bunt attempt by Josh Ethier, the Longhorns summoned left-hander Travis Duke to face the left-handed hitting Smith. The freshman laced a 0-1 pitch by Duke to right-center field for a hustle double and put runners on second and third for Dalrymple. The senior narrowly missed a double down the left-field line with a foul ball before driving a fly ball to the warning track in right to tie the game.

Smith and Tyler Wolfe each had two hits to help the Wildcats out-hit the Longhorns, 8-7. The multi-hit effort for Smith was his second is as many games and third in his last six overall contests.

Texas scored the game’s first run in the second when it used a leadoff single, sacrifice bunt, wild pitch and sacrifice fly by Patrick Mathis to plate Kacy Clemens. The Longhorns went on to put runners on the corners with two outs against Fischer, but the right-hander struck out Tyler Rand to end the two-out threat.

Chase Shugart took the loss for the Longhorns as he was responsible for two runs on three hits over 1 2/3 innings.

K-State will have the midweek off before traveling to West Virginia for a three-game conference set against the Mountaineers Friday-Sunday.

The comeback win for K-State was its first since March 9 against Creighton when the Wildcats overcame a two-run deficit to win 8-2.

It was also K-State’s first win when trailing after the sixth inning since May 16, 2015 at KU. In that game, the Wildcats were down 3-1 after the sixth but went on to win 6-4.

The win snapped K-State’s six-game losing streak to Texas, which was its longest since dropping 17 in a row from 1999-2005.

Tyler Moore extended his on-base streak to a season-high 12 games after going 1-for-3 with a hit by pitch.

K-State is 13-3 this season when it out-hits its opponent.