K-State Knocks Off Top-Ranked Texas, 2-1
K-State Knocks Off Top-Ranked Texas, 2-1
MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Kansas State defeated a No. 1-ranked baseball team at home for the first time in school history as the 20th-ranked Wildcats edged top-ranked Texas, 2-1, Friday evening before 2,630 fans at Tointon Family Stadium.
In ending the Longhorns' 21-game winning streak -- which included a Big 12 record 17-straight conference victories -- the Wildcats recorded their first triumph against the nation's No. 1-ranked team since defeating the Longhorns, 5-3, on April 3, 2005, in Austin.
The Wildcats improved to 32-13 overall and 11-7 in Big 12 play while picking up their fourth victory over Texas in the last eight meetings. It was also the first series-opening win against the Longhorns at home since 1998. Texas, which lost for the first time since March 30, fell to 39-8 on the year and 19-3 in conference action.
Texas came to Manhattan with the top pitching staff in the nation and checked K-State's potent offense on just four hits. But the Wildcats matched the Longhorns on the mound in a game that proved to be a nail-biter to the final play. Sophomore starter Kyle Hunter (8-0) allowed one run on seven hits with six strikeouts in six innings of work, just one strikeout shy of the career-high he established last week at Oklahoma.
But the win didn't come easy as the left-hander worked with runners on base in five of his six innings, including a bases-loaded jam in the second. The Longhorns filled the bases with one out, but consecutive ground-ball outs ended the threat. Hunter also worked around leadoff doubles in both the third and fifth innings en route to his first victory in the last four starts.
The K-State bullpen, coming off 5.1 scoreless innings of relief against Minnesota on Wednesday, was dominant again. Evan Marshall and James Allen teamed to throw three no-hit innings, while Allen picked up a four-out save, his sixth of the season.
"Our pitching staff was outstanding," head coach Brad Hill said. "You don't see Texas in that situation very often because they are very efficient offensively. Kyle made pitches when he had to and got himself out of a couple situations. I thought Evan did the same thing."
Texas didn't go down without a fight in the ninth against Allen, who hit a batter then issued a walk with one out to put the tying run in scoring position. But the sophomore right-hander forced Tant Shepherd to ground into a game-clinching double play.
"That was a pressure situation for James in the ninth," added Hill. "That was really tough. Contact was going to have to be made in that situation. He made the pitch and we turned a big double play."
Hunter's win moved him into a tie for seventh in school history for wins in a season, while Allen recorded his 11th career save to rank fifth in the K-State record book.
Texas starter Taylor Jungmann (4-2) was uncharacteristically wild as he issued a career-high seven walks and hit one batter. But the Cats failed to get a clutch hit in early scoring opportunities as they stranded five runners in the first two innings.
Jungmann settled down to retire the side in order in both the third and fourth innings before the Wildcats got to the right-hander in the fifth. Tanner Witt, who entered the game defensively in the first inning in place of the injured Jake Brown, walked. Jungmann continued to struggle with his control and loaded the bases with free passes to Adam Muenster and Nick Martini.
With Daniel Dellasega at the plate, Jungmann uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Witt to put the game's first run on the board. Dellasega then chopped out on a grounder over Jungmann's head to short that brought home Muenster to give K-State a 2-0 advantage.
Texas responded in the fifth for its run when Connor Rowe hammered a two-out double into the gap in right-center field to score Russell Moldenhauer, who had singled.
Marshall came out of the bullpen to begin the seventh and worked around a one-out error, forcing a double play grounder to get out of the inning. Marshall was also the victim of another K-State error in the eighth and, following a walk from Thomas Rooke that put the potential go-ahead runner on base, Allen came on to snuff out the fire by inducing a grounder back to the mound.
Kansas State will look for its first home series win against Texas since 1998 on Saturday. The Wildcats will start sophomore right-hander Kayvon Bahramzadeh, while Texas will counter will junior righty Cole Green. The game, which will be televised on Fox Sports Kansas City and Fox College Sports, begins at 2:30 p.m., at Tointon Family Stadium.