Griep Tosses Complete Game in Walk-Off Win
Griep Tosses Complete Game in Walk-Off Win
SURPRISE, Ariz. - With the game knotted at 2-2, Danny Krause delivered a bases-loaded, walk-off RBI single to back up a complete-game effort by Nate Griep as the K-State baseball team beat Utah, 3-2, at Surprise Stadium on Thursday.
After Griep twirled his seventh perfect frame of the night in the top of the ninth to keep the game tied, the rally by K-State (3-2) started when redshirt sophomore Steve Serratore laced a one-out double near the right field line. Representing the game-winning run, Serratore was lifted for pinch-runner Sam Chadick, and the Wildcats continued their threat when Max Brown was intentionally walked and Alex Bee hustled out a fielder's choice to load the bases. Krause then came through with a single up the middle on a 2-1 pitch delivered by Utah reliever Dylan Drachler.
"It started with (Serratore) getting a good swing on the ball," said K-State head coach Brad Hill about the bottom of the ninth. "The double helps out a bunch because the mounting pressure goes to the pitcher. The winning run is now sitting at second base as opposed to first base. A little hesitation (by Utah on Bee's ground ball), but Bee hustles to reach base, and then Krause - he's been in (runners in scoring position situation) two or three times this season, and he really came through in that last inning. He seemed much more settled down. That's the thing with these kids: they have to be in these situations, and the more they are, they start coming through just like Danny did right there."
Griep positioned the Wildcats for the last-inning win by using a career-high 122 pitches to toss his second-career complete game. The right-hander also snapped a streak of seven straight losing decisions as he picked up his first victory since March 30, 2014.
"You hate the fact that (Griep's) out there for 100-and-whatever pitches, but he was still throwing 92 in the ninth inning," said Hill. "He's a great conditioned athlete and a fierce competitor."
Griep faced the minimum in eight of his nine innings, with the one hiccup being in the fourth when he surrendered four hits with two strikes, committed two balks, and threw a wild pitch to allow Utah (1-4) to score both of its runs.
"I thought (Griep) did a tremendous job after the fourth inning," said Hill. "He got a couple of balks on him and lost his composure just a little bit, but then he wiped it clear. What we talk about with him is his maturity has really lifted a big level, and he really showed that tonight after the fourth inning."
Griep was perfect through his first three innings, but he also retired 10 straight to end his outing, a stretch that included three of his six strikeouts. The redshirt sophomore, who also had no walks for second time in his 12 career starts, has a team-best 13 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings this year.
Offensively, K-State was forced to fight off Utah's starting pitcher Bret Helton. The Ute right-hander limited the Wildcats to two runs, one earned, in 7 1/3 innings, but K-State made the most of its situations with runners on bases.
In the second inning, with Brown on first base after reaching on a Utah fielding error, Bee ripped a stand-up triple down the right field that gave K-State a 1-0 lead.
Helton went on to retire 11 straight Wildcats, but K-State mounted a threat in the sixth, starting with a one-out infield single by Carter Yagi. Yagi later advanced to second base on a balk and then moved to third on Tyler Wolfe's groundout. The next batter, Shane Conlon, drilled an RBI single up the middle to score Yagi and tie the game at 2-2. It was Conlon's second hit in four at-bats with runners in scoring position this season.
Conlon and Yagi were two of the six Wildcats who accounted for K-State's half-dozen hits.
K-State continues its run in the Big 12/Pac-12 Challenge when it and Oregon State face off in a rematch of the 2013 Corvallis Super Regional on Friday at 1 pm MT in Surprise. Right-hander Levi MaVorhis will start for the Wildcats while the Beavers will counter righty Travis Eckert. Oregon State opened its weekend with a 5-3 win over Oklahoma State prior to K-State's game on Thursday.
The walk-off win was K-State's first since May 17, 2014 vs. Texas.
Thursday was the first meeting ever between K-State and Utah.