K-State Falls, 5-3, Despite Setting Up Ninth-Inning Rally

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MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Despite being outhit, 16-5, K-State managed to put the game-tying run in scoring position in the ninth inning of Saturday's contest against Oklahoma, but four runs in the first four innings proved too much in a 5-3 loss at Tointon Family Stadium that evened the three-game series.

In a game that featured a 108-minute weather delay in the middle of the seventh inning, K-State (24-26, 8-12 Big 12) surrendered 16 hits to tie its season-high allowed in a game, but the Wildcat pitching staff forced the Sooners (31-22, 12-8 Big 12) to go 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position and strand 11 on base to keep the game within three runs after the fourth.

"The line today -- you see five runs on 16 hits -- our pitchers did a great job of making a pitch when they had to make a pitch," said K-State head coach Brad Hill. "Normally when you see 16 hits on the board, there are going to be eight or nine runs. Our pitchers at least kept it close so our offense had a shot."

The Wildcats entered the ninth trailing 5-2 and having been retired 13 batters in a row, but a leadoff infield single by Shane Conlon followed up by a single from Jake Wodtke put two runners on with no outs. After Tyler Moore struck out, Max Brown hit a grounder to Oklahoma shortstop Sheldon Neuse, who threw the ball into the Sooner dugout to allow Brown to reach but, more importantly, score Conlon. The next two batters, pinch-hitter Dom Thornton and Keith Browning, were retired by Oklahoma closer Jacob Evans, though, as Brown and Wodtke were stranded at second and third, respectively.

"Our guys just competed hard today," said Hill. "That last inning, you sit here and think it's going to be over, and the next thing you know, get a couple of mistakes and you have the tying-run at second base. You have huge momentum and feel like someone is going to get that hit to tie it up."

Offensively, the Wildcats had one hit in seven opportunities with runners in scoring position, with that one safety being Moore's RBI single in K-State's two-run fourth. The junior plated Tyler Wolfe, who reached with a leadoff single to precede the first of Conlon's two hits on the day. Conlon later scored in the frame on a squeeze bunt laid down by Brown that closed K-State's deficit to 4-2.

Oklahoma used two home runs to help it build the early 4-0 lead, including a two-out solo shot by Chris Shaw in the second and a two-run homer by Hunter Haley in the fourth. The Sooners added a two-out run in the third as well, with Anthony Hermelyn driving in Joshua Ake to bring the score to 2-0.

Oklahoma opened up a three-run lead in the seventh when Kolbey Carpenter hit a leadoff double off Lucas Benenati. A passed ball moved Carpenter to third, where he was driven in on a sacrifice fly hit by Hermelyn.

Benenati, who threw 2 2/3 innings on the day, recorded two of his four strikeouts in the seventh before lightning struck in the area to force the game into a delay. The right-hander allowed just the one unearned run on four hits.

Freshman Jackson Douglas took the loss in his first career start as the left-hander scattered six hits over 2 2/3 innings while allowing two runs.

Oklahoma starting pitcher Robert Tasin moved to 8-2 on the season as he limited K-State to two runs on three hits and two walks in six innings. The right-hander, who was lifted from the game after 114 pitches and the weather delay, also struck out five.

Mitch Plassmeyer worked a scoreless eighth and ninth innings for K-State out of the bullpen. The freshman left-hander struck out one while allowing two hits and a walk.

For the seventh straight weekend series, K-State will play the series finale with the set on the line as the Wildcats and Sooners will meet in the rubber match on Sunday at 1 p.m. Colton Kalmus will toe the rubber for K-State, facing Oklahoma's Alec Hansen.

Tyler Wolfe's single in the fourth extended his on-base streak to 15 games, which ties Steve Serratore for the third-longest by a Wildcat this season.

The Wildcats dropped to 4-6 in the second game of a three-game series this season.

The last time K-State allowed 16 hits in a game was on March 15 vs. Missouri State. The Wildcats lost the series finale to the Bears, 10-7.