Cats Strand 12 in 4-1 Loss to No. 19 Texas Tech

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MANHATTAN, Kan. -- The K-State baseball team produced double-digit hits on Sunday against No. 19 Texas Tech, but three unanswered Red Raider runs and 12 Wildcats left on base helped result in K-State dropping the series finale, 4-1, at Tointon Family Stadium.

Despite out-hitting Texas Tech, 10-9, the Wildcats (18-20, 5-10) could not produce an RBI as they matched their season-high in runners left on base. K-State put at least one runner on in eight of the nine innings, but came away empty seven times after going 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Three of the dozen stranded runners came in the fifth when K-State loaded the bases with one out but failed to score.

"We just couldn't get the big hit today," said K-State head coach Brad Hill. "Huge momentum swing in the fifth when we had the bases loaded and didn't get the big hit. Then we just had a lot of things inside the game that we didn't do very well that took some runs off the board."

The bullpen duo of Corey Taylor and Dominic Moreno for Texas Tech (25-15, 9-6 Big 12) held K-State scoreless for 7 1/3 innings. Taylor, who entered the game after the Wildcats scored their only run via a balk in the second, scattered four hits and struck out three to earn the win. Moreno, meanwhile, notched a 4 2/3-inning save after he fanned six Wildcats and surrendered three hits.

K-State starting pitcher Nate Griep, in his first outing since April 4 vs. West Virginia, allowed two runs on five hits and two walks in five innings. The redshirt sophomore surrendered a home run to Tyler Neslony, Griep's first homer allowed this season, to lead off the second that gave Texas Tech a 1-0 lead, and in the fourth, an inning-opening double by Stephen Smith resulted in a run on a sacrifice fly two batters later by Eric Gutierrez that made it 2-1. Griep, who leads K-State with 43 strikeouts this season, also struck out four, including two in the fifth to help him escape a jam with a pair of runners on and nobody out.

"When you pitch every other week, or two weeks, it's hard to be sharp," said Hill about Griep. "He labored, threw a lot of pitches (90), but he is still a competitor. He sure gave us a chance."

After Griep was spelled by Levi MaVorhis to start the sixth, Texas Tech rattled off three hits against the K-State junior to add a pair of insurance runs. Both runs scored with two outs when a single by Orlando Garcia snuck through the left-side to plate Gutierrez and Michael Davis to make it 4-1 Texas Tech.

Despite the two runs in the sixth, the K-State bullpen did not allow any more runs over the final 3 1/3 innings. Lucas Benenati, who left an inherited runner from MaVorhis on base to end the sixth, allowed just one hit over his 1 1/3 innings. Both Bryce Ward and Jordan Floyd worked perfect innings, with Floyd throwing the eighth and Ward striking out one in the ninth.

The K-State offense featured four different players with multi-hit efforts as Max Brown, Shane Conlon, Clayton Dalrymple and Jake Wodtke each had two hits. All 10 of the Wildcats' hits were singles, including two in the ninth when K-State managed to bring the game-tying run to the plate in Brown, who hit into a fielder's choice at third with runners on first and second to end the game.

Brown's two hits helped him, though, extend his on-base streak a career-high 12 games, which is the longest active streak by a Wildcat.

The lone K-State run was scored by Tyler Moore, who led off the second with a single down the right field line. The junior advanced to third on Wodtke's single to right and then forced Texas Tech starting pitcher Dylan Dusek to balk as he broke for home during Dusek's windup with Carter Yagi at the plate.

Following seven straight games at home, K-State will now play its next six on the road, beginning with a trip to Lincoln to face Nebraska on April 21 at 6:35 p.m.

The last time K-State left 12 runners on base was on April 2 vs. West Virginia. The Wildcats beat the Mountaineers in that game, 8-2. Both the Wildcats and Red Raiders, who left five on base on Sunday, stranded 25 runners on base in the series.

K-State's bullpen had a 1.72 ERA during the series, allowing just three runs over 15 2/3 innings. In the last five games, K-State relievers have a combined ERA of 1.46 (4er, 24.2ip).

First pitch of the game was delayed 21 minutes due to light rain.