Big First Inning Dooms K-State in 12-3 Loss

STILLWATER, Okla. -- The K-State baseball team was unable to overcome six two-out runs in the first inning by No. 12 Oklahoma State on Saturday as the Wildcats lost to the Cowboys, 12-3, at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.

After holding Oklahoma State (18-8, 3-2 Big 12) to two runs and seven hits in the series opener on Friday, K-State (12-13, 1-4 Big 12) surrendered seven hits in Saturday's first inning alone, with six coming on two outs.

Wildcat starting pitcher Kyle Halbohn, making his Big 12 debut, sandwiched a double with a groundout and strikeout against the first three batters he faced in the game, but beginning with a single by Conor Costello, the right-hander surrendered five straight hits to plate the first four runs. A throwing error by shortstop Tyler Wolfe on a groundball hit by the No. 9 hitter Jacob Chappell prolonged the inning. The error came around to hurt Halbohn and the Wildcats when Tim Arakawa drove in two with a single into center field to make it 6-0.

"We just didn't execute pitches at all," said K-State head coach Brad Hill about the first inning. "Unfortunately, that's kind of been our story right now, not being able to close innings out. (Oklahoma State) did a great job of hitting, but we also missed our locations."

Halbohn, who took the loss after throwing one inning, was one of five Wildcat pitchers used in the game. Mark Biesma spelled Halbohn starting in the second, and the senior went on to throw a team-high 2 2/3 innings. Levi MaVorhis (1 1/3 innings), Mitch Plassmeyer (1 inning) and Lucas Benenati (2 innings) followed Biesma, with each hurler surrendering at least one run.

Biesma and Plassmeyer each allowed a two-run homer to the Cowboys as Ryan Sluder hit a two-run home run off Biesma in the third and Costello registered a two-run roundtripper in the sixth off Plassmeyer that made it 10-3.

K-State was out-hit by Oklahoma State, 15-7 - a day after the Wildcats had 10 hits to the Cowboys' seven in the series opener.

Seniors Carter Yagi and Max Brown led the K-State offense with two hits apiece. For Brown, it was his fourth multi-hit game over the last 10 contests while for Yagi, it was his seventh multi-hit effort this season, the second-highest total on K-State.

The Wildcats punched back Oklahoma State's big first frame in the third when Wolfe hit a leadoff single and advanced to second on a throwing error by Costello. Yagi followed by singling as well, moving Wolfe to third with no outs. Clayton Dalrymple then hit a groundball to the Oklahoma State third baseman, Chappell, who failed to field the ball and allowed Wolfe to score, making it 6-1 while also keeping runners at first and second with no outs. However, Shane Conlon hit into a double play turned by shortstop Donnie Walton and first baseman Dustin Williams to help blunt the rally.

"We had the (third inning) where we could have pressed them," said Hill. "First and second with no outs, and we leave the (strike) zone and hit into a double play. That killed any sort of momentum that we may have had."

In the fourth, K-State returned the deficit back to six runs when Oklahoma State's Blake Battenfield walked three straight Wildcats with one out to load the bases for Wolfe. The junior drove in Alex Bee with a sacrifice fly for his eighth RBI of the season.

The Wildcats closed it to 8-3 in the fifth when Brown hit a ball into right field for an apparent single, but Costello allowed the ball to get past him on a diving attempt. The misplay turned into Brown's team-leading third triple of the year, but more importantly, drove in Steve Serratore, who reached with a two-out hit by pitch.

Oklahoma State reliever Tyler Buffet earned the win after holding K-State to one run on four hits and two walks over five innings. The right-hander also struck out a game-high five.

The Wildcats and Cowboys will meet in the rubber game of the three-game series on Sunday at 1 p.m. Right-hander Brandon Courville will make his first career start for K-State and face Oklahoma's State left-hander, Michael Freeman.

Max Brown, who has a career-high 16 RBIs this season, leads the team with 12 two-out RBIs. Of his last nine RBIs, seven have been recorded with two outs.

K-State, despite a 57-158 record all-time against Oklahoma State, is still 11-12 against the Cowboys since 2008.

The Wildcats are 1-9 this season when their opponent scores in the first inning.