Cats Capture Series vs. No. 3 TCU with 6-2 Win
Cats Capture Series vs. No. 3 TCU with 6-2 Win
MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Behind a quality start from junior Levi MaVorhis, the K-State baseball team completed a series win against No. 3 TCU by beating the Horned Frogs, 6-2, in the finale on Sunday at Tointon Family Stadium.
MaVorhis, making his first start since February 20 vs. Oregon State, did not allow a run in his first seven frames, scattering six hits and one walk over his first 3 2/3 innings before retiring 10 straight Horned Frogs (26-8, 7-5 Big 12) from the final out in the fourth through the seventh. The right-hander finished the game surrendering two runs on seven hits and two walks in 7.0+ innings and earning his second victory of the season.
"I am really proud of [MaVorhis]," said K-State head coach Brad Hill. "He's had a lot of ups and downs this year, but we need him. We needed an experienced guy out there today. I thought he really put [TCU] on their heels and got them to swing at the pitches he wanted them to. It was just a masterful job by him."
The series win for K-State (16-18, 4-8 Big 12) was its first in Big 12 play since April 17-19, 2014 vs. Baylor, snapping a stretch of seven straight series losses in conference action. The series triumph was also the Wildcats' first against a nationally-ranked top-five team since 2009 when they beat No. 2 Texas in Austin, 2-0-1, from April 24-26.
"For three straight weeks, we could not get it done (after winning the first game of the series), and then yesterday, of course, [Preston] Morrison just dominated us," said Hill. "Our guys really put yesterday in the past, approached today as a new day and we had great spirt in the dugout. There was a lot of motivation, and I really liked how we played today."
The Wildcats were able to generate their runs by having the bottom of their lineup reach base and the top-half driving them in. No. 8 and 9 hitters, Jake Wodtke and Carter Yagi, combined for four hits and four runs while the No. 2-4 batters, Tyler Wolfe, Shane Conlon and Max Brown, combined for all six of the RBIs.
Wolfe led the way with three RBIs, matching his career-high, as he went 1-for-4 with a double. The junior's first RBI gave K-State a 1-0 lead in the third when he drove in Wodtke, who reached on a TCU error, with a groundout. Wolfe's RBI in the fifth, on a fielder's choice with the bases loaded, sparked a four-run frame for the Wildcats to make it 5-0. Wolfe sharply hit a groundball to TCU third baseman Derek Odell, who was unable to force out Dominic Thornton at home with his throw.
With the bases still loaded in the fifth, Conlon followed up Wolfe by plating Wodtke with a sacrifice fly before Brown hit a two-out, two-run triple into the left-center field gap. Brown, who was thrown out at home trying to score on the play after a bobble during the relay, raised his RBI total to a team-best 25 on the season. Of his 25 RBIs, 16 have been registered with two outs.
Wolfe came through with his own two-out RBI in the seventh when he drove in Wodtke with a double into left-center. The RBI not only matched Wolfe's career-high, but it was also his seventh RBI over the last four games and 16th this season.
The Horned Frogs struck in the seventh when MaVorhis allowed the first two hitters to reach with a walk and base hit. K-State reliever Jackson Douglas allowed both inherited baserunners to score on RBI singles, but the last out of the frame was recorded at third base when Dane Steinhagen was thrown out by Brown as the TCU left fielder was trying to go from first to third on Evan Skoug's run-producing single.
In the ninth, K-State's Corey Fischer entered the game with a runner on and one out, and, after hitting the first batter he faced, induced a groundball double-play to end the game. It was the Wildcats' third double play turned throughout the contest.
TCU starting pitcher Alex Young was charged with the loss as he allowed four runs, three earned, on five hits and two walks in four innings. It was just the left-hander's second loss of the season.
K-State continues its homestand on Tuesday, April 14 when it takes on Wichita State at 6:30 p.m.
Max Brown's triple was his sixth of the season, which is tied for the seventh-most in a season in school history. Brown's half-dozen triples, with four of them being recorded over the last 10 games, are also the most by a Wildcat since Jason King (6) in 2011.
In five games this week, Tyler Wolfe hit .333 (7-for-21) with five runs scored and seven RBIs. In Big 12-only games, Wolfe leads the team with a .389 batting average and is tied for second on the team in RBIs with six.
K-State has won both of the series in Manhattan in the all-time series against TCU. The Wildcats beat the Horned Frogs in the first ever series back in 2013, two games to one.