Clutch Hitting Propels Cats to Saturday Win

NORMAN, Okla. - Kansas State's clutch hitting produced two big innings as the 20th-ranked Wildcats evened its three-game series against No. 15 Oklahoma with a 14-9 victory Saturday evening at L. Dale Mitchell Park.

Kansas State picked up its 30th win of the season -- including its 10th in conference play -- as the Wildcats moved to 30-11 overall and 10-6 in conference action. The loss halted Oklahoma's four-game winning streak and dropped the Sooners to 31-12 overall and 9-9 in league play.

Clutch hitting was the theme of the game for the Wildcats, who delivered eight of their 14 runs with two-out hits.  The Wildcats were 10-for-15 at the plate with runners on base.

Kansas State jumped to an early 6-1 lead as the Cats scored six times in the top of the third off Oklahoma starter Bobby Shore (6-3). Five of the runs came on home runs. Jake Brown belted a two-run homer over the wall in left before Kent Urban's line-drive three-run shot to right capped the inning. The opposite-field homer was the first of Brown's career, while Urban hit his fourth of the season.

Oklahoma didn't go away as the Sooners scored three runs in the fourth to knock K-State starter Kyle Hunter out of the game. The Sooners added a run off reliever Evan Marshall (4-2) in the sixth to pull within 6-5.

The Sooners' comeback was bolstered by reliever Jeremy Erban, who worked 3.1 no-hit innings. After Blair DeBord doubled in the second, Kansas State went hitless until a one-out single in the seventh.

With momentum clearly on the Sooners' side, K-State regained control of the game by scoring five runs in the seventh.  The Cats received RBI singles from Daniel Dellasega, DeBord and pinch-hitter Chase Graskewicz, which chased reliever Anthony Collazo from the game. Matt Giller greeted Michael Rocha with a two-RBI double to give K-State a commanding 11-5 lead.

After the Cats made it 12-5 with a run in the eighth, Oklahoma whittled the lead to 12-9 on a two-out, two-RBI triple from Garrett Buechele off K-State closer James Allen.

K-State put the game away with two runs in the ninth before Allen shut down the Sooners to preserve the win.

"Our guys showed great toughness today," head coach Brad Hill said. "Oklahoma is such a great team with momentum. When they feel momentum they go. Evan Marshall was outstanding and I can't count how many big hits we had. Jake Brown got it started with the home run and he also made a great defensive play. It was a gutty effort by our players tonight to be able to withstand all the pressure they were putting on us."

The middle of the K-State lineup -- Dellasega, Urban and DeBord -- recorded two hits apiece, while Urban drove in three runs. Giller, batting eighth in the order, added two hits and three RBI.

Hunter came up short of earning his eighth win of the season as he worked four innings, allowing four runs on seven hits. He began the game striking out the first five batters. The sophomore left-hander struck out another batter in the third and one in the fourth to record a career-high seven punch-outs.

Kansas State will look for its first series win on the road in Big 12 play this season with a 1 p.m., contest Sunday at L. Dale Mitchell Park.