Cats Fall 6-3, Winning Streak Snapped at Four

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The K-State baseball team saw its four-game winning streak come to an end on Wednesday as the Wildcats surrendered four runs in the sixth inning that proved too much in a 6-3 loss to Creighton at Tointon Family Stadium.

The Wildcats (8-8) led 2-1 entering the sixth, but the Bluejays (6-6) struck for all four of its runs with two outs off K-State pitchers Jackson Douglas and Levi MaVorhis. Douglas, who took the losing decision, got a pair of groundouts to start the frame, but the freshman left-hander surrendered three straight singles, with the last one driving in a run and tying the game at 2-2. MaVorhis spelled Douglas after the third single, but the right-hander subsequently allowed an infield single that deflected off of his glove to drive in another run followed by a triple into right-center that plated the final two runs.

"To get two outs, you have to finish off the inning," said K-State head coach Brad Hill. "We just could not get a pitch to stop that inning - that just cannot happen right there. There cannot be four runs scored with two outs. For them to get that many hits in a row means that we were not making very good pitches."

The loss was the first for K-State at home this season and just its second in its last 26 nonconference home games.

The Wildcats were out-hit by the Bluejays, but the K-State offense still mustered double-digit hits for the fourth straight game with 10. Max Brown, Shane Conlon, Clayton Dalrymple and Tyler Wolfe each tied for the team lead with two safeties. The multi-hit effort for Conlon was his third in as many games as he also extended his on-base streak to a team-best 15 games.

While K-State collected its 10 hits, it stranded a runner at third base in four different innings, with three of the frames being when the Wildcats had already plated one run. After leaving men on second and third in a scoreless first, K-State scored a run in the second with a one-out RBI single by Wolfe but left two in scoring position after back-to-back groundouts ended the inning.

In the fifth, Dalrymple, with a bunt single, and Conlon, with a double, eventually worked themselves into scoring position with one out. Steve Serratore drove in Dalrymple with a groundout to second base and gave the Wildcats a 2-1 lead, but a Tyler Moore strikeout halted the scoring opportunity with Conlon left on third.

In the sixth, K-State responded to Creighton's four runs by putting a pair of runners on base with one out after Brown's infield single and Keith Browning's walk off of Ethan DeCaster. Creighton summoned David Gerber from the bullpen, who allowed a sac bunt by Wolfe and an RBI infield single by Jake Wodtke to bring the Wildcats within two, 5-3. The Bluejay right-hander, however, induced a lineout double play by Carter Yagi at first base to end the sixth and went on to complete a four-inning save by allowing just one more hit and striking out three.

"We really could not get a crooked number up there and press them a little bit," said Hill. "(Gerber) did a tremendous job of just sinking it to get a lot of ground balls. He did a really good job."

Creighton reestablished its three-run advantage in the seventh when Daniel Woodrow hit a one-out triple off MaVorhis and scored when the next batter, Nicky Lopez, hit a sacrifice fly off Lucas Benenati.

The Wildcats used a season-high six pitchers in the game, with starter Mark Biesma throwing a team-high three innings. The right-hander allowed one unearned run on two hits and a walk in the no-decision.

K-State continues its homestand with a three-game series this weekend against Missouri State. First pitch of game one in the set is at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, March 13 at Tointon Family Stadium.

Shane Conlon finished the game 2-for-4, helping him reach base safely in 10 of his last 14 plate appearances. Over the last three games, the redshirt senior is 8-for-12 (.667) with three doubles, one triple, three RBIs and a .714 OBP.

Brandon Erickson allowed a hit and a walk in the top of the ninth inning, but the K-State right-hander recorded all three of the outs in the frame with strikeouts. The junior leads all Wildcat relievers with 13 punchouts this season.

The loss dropped K-State's all-time record against Creighton to 50-39-1, including a 36-18-1 mark at home.