Pitching Propels Cats to Series Win

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Kyle Hunter threw no-hit baseball for six innings as No. 20 Kansas State used stellar pitching for the second straight day to defeat Baylor, 5-2, Saturday afternoon at Tointon Family Stadium.

Kansas State improved to 25-8 on the season, its best mark through 33 games in school history. The Cats started the 1976 and 2009 seasons 24-8, but lost the 33rd game of the year in both campaigns. Saturday's win also moved the Wildcats' conference record to 8-3, tying the best conference start in school history, and established K-State's best record through 11 Big 12 games since the league began play in 1997.

Hunter was outstanding as he dominated through six innings in a duel against Baylor's Logan Verrett. The sophomore left-hander, who recorded three strikeouts, retired the side in order four times. The Bears managed only two baserunners in the first six innings as Hunter walked a batter in each the second and sixth.

Baylor's sixth-inning threat ended in spectacular fashion.  Greg Glime, who had walked, was at second base following a sacrifice bunt when Landis Ware hit a line drive back at Hunter. The ball ricocheted off Hunter's arm to shortstop Carter Jurica, who caught the ball in the air and stepped on second base for an inning-ending double play that kept the no-hit bid alive.

"Kyle was outstanding today, and he had to be because Logan Verrett is very good," head coach Brad Hill said. "We had to have an effort like that to even have a chance. It was just an unbelievable pitching duel."

Hunter's no-hitter came to an end in the seventh when Brooks Pinckard doubled to left-center field to begin the inning. The hit was the first for Baylor in 12 innings and 38-straight plate appearances dating back to Friday's contest.

The hit prompted K-State to call on Evan Marshall in relief of Hunter. The right-hander gave up a RBI double to Joey Hainsfurther, allowing Baylor's first run since the third inning in Friday's series opener. Marshall got out of the inning by inducing a ground out and a pair of fly outs before handing the game over to sophomore closer James Allen.

Allen, who was named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Stopper of the Year watch list on Thursday, picked up his fifth save of the season and the second in as many days as he worked the eighth and ninth frames. He allowed one run on one hit with a walk and two strikeouts.

In the first two games of the series, the Wildcat pitching staff has held the Big 12's second-best hitting team to just four total runs on eight hits with four walks and 11 strikeouts.

Verrett (4-3) allowed three runs, including two unearned runs in the sixth, on six hits with two walks and eight strikeouts in seven innings of work. He kept the Bears in the game by holding the Cats scoreless on just two hits from the second until the sixth.

That's when K-State took advantage of a costly Baylor error to build a 3-0 lead. Nick Martini walked with one out and moved to second on a single by Daniel Dellasega. Kent Urban then grounded to Baylor first baseman Max Muncy, whose throw to second base in an attempt to force out Dellasega hit Dellasega's helmet and bounced into the outfield, allowing Martini to score.

After Dellasega was thrown out at the plate on a missed suicide squeeze by Blair DeBord, the Wildcat freshman atoned for his miscue as he hit a 2-2 pitch through the left side of the infield to bring home Urban.

The Cats added two more runs in the eighth.  Jurica, who recorded his third hit of the day, scored when Martini tripled to deep right-center field. Martini came home on a base hit by Dellasega as the Cats went ahead 5-1.

Baylor scratched a run in the ninth when Muncy doubled to right-center field to score Raynor Campbell. Allen struck out Tyler Collins to end the game.

Jurica's three hits were a game-high, while Dellasega and DeBord added two hits apiece. Martini recorded two RBI, his team-leading 12th multi-RBI contest of the season.

The Wildcats scored first for a second-straight day when Jurica tripled down the right-field line in first inning and scored on a ground out by Martini.

Kansas State, which won its first regular-season series against Baylor for the first time since 2006, will go for its second Big 12 sweep of the season in a 1 p.m., contest Sunday at Tointon Family Stadium.