Wildcats Strand Game-Tying Run in 9th, Lose 4-3

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MANHATTAN, Kan. -- For the second straight game, K-State left the game-tying run in scoring position in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Wildcats were unable to complete their comeback from a four-run deficit and lost, 4-3, to Oklahoma on Sunday at Tointon Family Stadium.

The Wildcats (24-27, 8-13 Big 12) trailed 3-0 after the top of the first, but a bullpen tandem of Jordan Floyd and Corey Fischer held the Sooners (32-22, 13-8 Big 12) to one unearned run over the final eight innings.

The K-State offense, meanwhile, chipped away at the deficit with a run in the fifth and two in the sixth before setting up a possible game-tying run in the ninth with Carter Yagi at third. The senior led off the frame with the final of his three hits, an infield single up the middle, and worked his way to third on a sacrifice bunt by Tyler Wolfe and a fly out by Shane Conlon. Tyler Moore, however, was struck out by Jacob Evans to end the game.

"We have done a pretty good job of fighting and competing really well," said K-State head coach Brad Hill. "[We are] in a position to win, just a matter of who can go get the big hit to win the game. That just has not happened. It is frustrating and disappointing but these guys getting down three in the first, could have been really easy to just check out. These guys do not quit, give them all the credit in the world. But also we have to find a way to go win games. Make big plays, make big hits to win games."

The loss gave the series to Oklahoma, meaning K-State dropped to 2-5 in Big 12 series this season. The Wildcats enter their final conference series of the season this weekend at KU in a five-way battle for the final four spots in the Big 12 Championship held in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

K-State managed to outhit Oklahoma, 10-7, with the help of Yagi's three hits, which matched his career-high. While his first hit put him on base to score the Wildcats' first run of the game in the fifth, Yagi's second hit was a run-producer in the sixth that made it 4-3 Oklahoma. Yagi drove in Alex Bee to cut the K-State deficit to one with a single into right field off Ralph Garza, Jr. Bee had reached four batters earlier with a single off Corey Copping to drive in Max Brown, who led off the frame with a walk and moved into scoring position on a passed ball.

Bee joined Yagi as the two Wildcats with multi-hit efforts. The junior, who also made his first career start in right field, went 2-for-4 with a double.

The Wildcats had a runner on base in eight of the nine innings, but they stranded 10, including six in scoring position after going 2-for-14 with runners on second or third. In the fourth, after Oklahoma added the eventual game-winning run in the top half of the frame, Moore and Brown reached with back-to-back singles to help the Wildcats put runners on second and third with no outs. K-State came away empty, though, following a groundout and back-to-back strikeouts.

"Second and third no outs, and we did not get any runs there - that is the big difference," said Hill. "[Oklahoma] got that fourth run, and we had some opportunities offensively to get more runs but did not do it. Then we are sitting there in the ninth with another opportunity. It is just a killer to have two nights in a row to at least tie it up or win the game, but we could not do it."

Oklahoma, on the other hand, did not have a baserunner after the fourth inning until a one-out single by Chris Shaw off Fischer in the ninth. Floyd and Fischer combined to retire 15 straight Sooners from the second out in the fourth until the second batter of the ninth.

Floyd used 52 pitches in a career-high 4 1/3 innings to hold Oklahoma to one hit and an unearned run. The left-hander saw the second batter of the fourth, Hunter Haley, reach on the second of K-State's two errors before scoring two batters later on a squeeze play executed by Craig Aikin.

Fischer followed up Floyd with three innings, which was the second time in his last four outings he has thrown three or more frames. The junior surrendered just one hit while striking out two.

K-State starting pitcher Colton Kalmus surrendered the three runs in the first as he suffered his fourth loss of the season. The redshirt sophomore allowed four hits among the first six batters he faced, with the final three safeties producing runs. Kalmus finished the game giving up five hits in 1 2/3 innings while striking out three, his most strikeouts since April 10 vs. TCU (3).

Oklahoma starter Alec Hansen scattered six hits and surrendered one unearned run in five innings to earn the win, his fifth of the year. The right-hander also struck out four and did not walk any batters.

K-State finished the season with a 14-11 record at home.


NOTES
Tyler Wolfe singled in his second at-bat of the game to extend his on-base streak to a career-high 16 games. The junior is now tied with Max Brown for the second-longest on-base streak by a Wildcat this season.

Jordan Floyd leads all K-State relievers this season with 41.0 innings pitched. The sophomore, who has thrown two or more innings in half of his 20 outings this season, has a 1.15 ERA (2er, 15.2ip) in his last seven games.

Alex Bee did not record a walk, snapping a stretch of six straight contests with a free pass, but he did register his sixth multi-hit game. Since April 29, Bee has a .607 OBP in seven games with the help of six hits, 10 walks and a hit by pitch.

First pitch was delayed one hour and 26 minutes from its original time of 1:05 p.m. due to rain.