Wildcats Walk Off with 5-4 Win on Senior Night

May 17, 2014

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K-State Athletics

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Down one run and with runners on first and second, Austin Fisher hit a two-run double in the bottom of the ninth inning to complete the K-State baseball team’s 5-4 comeback win over No. 19 Texas on Saturday at Tointon Family Stadium.

Fisher’s walkoff hit capped a three-run ninth for the Wildcats (25-29, 5-18 Big 12) as Texas (35-16, 12-11 Big 12) led 4-2 entering K-State’s final at-bats. Back-to-back singles by RJ Santigate and Taylor Anderson opened the inning, setting up an RBI single by Ross Kivett that cut the Texas lead to 4-3.

“I tried to put last night’s performance out of their minds to prepare for this game tonight,” said K-State head coach Brad Hill after Friday’s 12-0 loss. “There was no emotion, no passion last night. They were just zombies out on the field. [Tonight] I just asked them to try to play baseball the way that they remember. We are Kansas State, remember who we are. Just stick your chest out, play hard and let things go. They have not been doing that, but today they did, I think a lot of it had to do with the seniors and how they led by example.”

Seniors Kivett and Santigate both had a game-high three hits. Kivett finished 3-for-5 with two RBIs and a stolen base while Santigate went 3-for-4 with a run scored. Fellow senior position player Blair DeBord went 1-for-3 with a walk.

Senior pitcher Jared Moore, in his final outing as a Wildcat, did not factor into the decision, but he did limit Texas to four runs, two earned, in seven-plus innings.

The win was K-State’s first victory this season when trailing after seven innings. K-State faced a 3-2 deficit entering the eighth inning after an RBI double by Kivett in the seventh pulled the Wildcats within one.

K-State scored all three ninth-inning runs off Texas closer, John Curtiss. The right-hander suffered his first loss of the season, allowing three runs on five hits in 1 1/3 innings.

In his first relief appearance of the season, Levi MaVorhis picked up the win, his sixth of the year, after he threw two shutout innings in relief of Moore.

Junior Max Brown reached base in all four of his plate appearances, going 2-for-2 with two walks. The center fielder also stole four bases, which were the most steals by a Wildcat in a game since Tanner Witt stole four on March 10, 2013 vs. Hartford.

K-State scored the game’s first run when Brown crossed home on a passed ball in the second. Brown led off the frame by drawing a walk on a full count and then stole second before moving to third on a wild pitch thrown by Texas starting pitcher Nathan Thornhill.

The Longhorns came back for three runs in the fourth, helped by a pair of K-State errors. Ben Johnson led off the inning by reaching on a throwing error by Anderson, the K-State third baseman, and another fielding error by Anderson on a throw from Moore during a sacrifice bunt attempt loaded the bases for Madison Carter with no outs. Carter delivered a two-run single to give Texas a 2-1 lead, and later in the inning, Kacy Clemens drove in Carter with an RBI single to make it 3-1 Longhorns.

After K-State scored its run in the bottom of the seventh, Tres Barrera hit a first-pitch, leadoff home run off Moore in the eighth to restore Texas’ two-run advantage.

While Texas had eight hits, K-State registered 12 hits in its first game since being no-hit for the first time since 2001. Seven different Wildcats tallied at least one hit.

The win also snapped K-State’s 11-game conference losing streak as it was the Wildcats’ first victory against a Big 12 opponent since April 18 vs. Baylor.

“It has been weighing on us for a while, trust me,” said Hill about the losing streak. “You can see it and it could not get much lower than what it did last night. I give a lot of credit to our kids coming out today and competing and battling like they did.”

The Wildcats end their 2014 season with the rubber match of the three-game series against Texas on Sunday. K-State will start freshman Jake Fromson while Texas will counter with Parker French. First pitch is set for 3:30 pm.