Wildcats Beat Baylor, 6-3; Win First Series in Waco

WACO, Texas -- The K-State baseball team erased a 3-1 deficit with five unanswered runs after the seventh inning to earn its first series win in program history at Baylor by beating the Bears, 6-3, on Sunday at Baylor Ballpark.


The Wildcats (20-22, 7-11 Big 12), which also picked up their first Big 12 road series win since 2013, scored their final five runs over their last two at-bats by taking advantage of two of Baylor's five errors in the game along with two hit by pitches, three walks and four hits.

While the offense made the most of the miscues by Baylor (17-26, 6-12 Big 12), freshman Bryce Ward led a bullpen contingent of four pitchers by throwing a career-high 6 1/3 innings and allowing just one run on three hits and one unintentional walk. The right-hander, who had not thrown more than three innings in any of his previous 16 outings this season, entered the game in the first after Baylor scored two runs off starter Brandon Erickson. Ward went on to not surrender a run until his final inning of work in the seventh.

"It all starts with Bryce Ward coming in and holding that thing to two runs and not letting it get to three or four runs in the first inning," said K-State head coach Brad Hill. "All you saw after that was a trail of zeros. The bullpen was the story today."

Jackson Douglas, Jordan Floyd and Brandon Courville stymied the Bears as well, with the trio combining for 2 1/3 shutout innings. After Douglas stranded a pair of inherited runners on the corners in the seventh with a strikeout to end the inning, Floyd tossed a scoreless eighth before Courville registered his first career save with an unblemished ninth. Courville induced a game-ending fly out to Mitch Price, who represented the potential game-tying as runners were on the corners.

Freshman Sam Chadick led all Wildcats with two RBIs, giving him five in his last four games. Both of the left fielder's RBIs came in the final two innings, the first being on a bases-loaded walk that tied the game at 3-3 in eighth and the second providing an insurance run in the ninth on a squeeze play that plated Tyler Moore to make it 6-3. Since making his first career start on April 21 at Nebraska, Chadick has gone 7-for-16 (.438) with three multi-hit games.

In addition to Chadick, two other Wildcats, Clayton Dalrymple and Steve Serratore, also had multi-hit efforts to help K-State tally nine total hits. While Dalrymple had two of the Wildcats' first three hits, Serratore used the first of his two hits to drive in K-State's first run in the sixth. Serratore hit an RBI double off Baylor starter Daniel Castano to drive in Max Brown, who also reached with a double two batters earlier, to cut the Bears' lead in half, 2-1. Brown's double snapped a stretch of 11 straight Wildcats retired by the sophomore Castano.

"The kids hung in there," said Hill. "We let (Castano) off the hook by leaving the zone a couple times with runners on and didn't score. I was concerned on how they would respond, but it was a total team effort."

The Bears regained their two-run lead in the seventh when a leadoff double by Hayden Ross resulted in a run on a single by Ben Carl off Ward. The two hits by the Bears in the frame represented two of their three hits from the second through the seventh inning.

The Wildcats quickly responded to Baylor's run when they drew three walks and two hit by pitches thrown by Baylor reliever Brad Kuntz. The left-hander, who suffered the loss after being responsible for three runs in one inning, allowed the first run to score when Baylor second baseman Steven McLean made a throwing error on a double-play attempt to allow pinch-runner Carter Yagi to score and make it 3-2 Baylor. After back-to-back hit by pitches, Kuntz issued the bases-loaded walk to Chadick that evened the game at 3-3.

Brown drove in the eventual game-winning run in the ninth with a sacrifice fly that scored Tyler Wolfe, who started the frame with a double into right field. The Wildcats added another run when the next batter, Tyler Moore, hit a grounder to shortstop Hayden Ross, who made an errant throw to third base in attempt to put out Yagi moving from second to third. The throw sailed near the Bears dugout as Yagi quickly rounded third to score on the error.

Erickson did not factor into the decision in his first career start after he allowed four straight hits that resulted in two runs in the first inning. The right-hander was only able to record one out among the five batters he faced.

The Wildcats will end their six-game road swing with a two-game series at Minnesota. First game of the set is on Tuesday at 6:35 p.m.


NOTES
The series win was K-State's first in a Big 12 set on the road since May 10-12, 2013 at Kansas. The Wildcats had lost six straight conference road series, including the first two this season at Texas and Oklahoma State.

Max Brown, who reached base safely twice with a double and walk, extended his on-base streak to a career-high 16 games. It is the second-longest on-base streak by a Wildcat this season, trailing Shane Conlon's 22 consecutive games.

The win was K-State's second this season when trailing after seven innings. The first was 12 days ago against Wichita State at home when the Wildcats came back from a 4-3 deficit to win 5-4 in 10 innings. Last season, K-State was 1-25 when trailing after seven innings. This season, 2-17.