K-State Drops Regular Season Finale at KU, 9-6
K-State Drops Regular Season Finale at KU, 9-6
LAWRENCE, Kan. -- K-State surrendered a five-run lead in the Sunflower Showdown series finale on Sunday as Kansas outscored the Wildcats 9-1 after the top of the fourth to claim a 9-6 win at Hoglund Ballpark.
The loss for the Wildcats (26-28, 10-14 Big 12) in the regular season finale snapped their five-game winning streak in Lawrence. However, by winning the first two games of the set, K-State was able to claim its third consecutive road set in the all-time series against KU (23-32, 8-15 Big 12).
Carter Yagi drove in a career-high four runs, all with two outs, while Tyler Wolfe went 3-for-4 with two RBIs to help put the Wildcats in the lead in the early going. Yagi hit a bases-clearing triple in the second to make it 3-0, and in the fourth, the senior preceded Wolfe's RBI double with a run-producing single as K-State led 5-0 going into the bottom half of the frame.
KU, though, went on to score nine of the next 10 runs with three runs in each of the fourth, fifth and seventh frames. A two-run home run by Blair Beck highlighted the fourth for the Jayhawks, while three doubles off K-State reliever Corey Fischer in the fifth led to a tie game at 6-6.
"[Blair] Beck's home run was a big deal," said K-State head coach Brad Hill. "The two-run home run just gave [KU] some life. We couldn't get any stops after that."
KU seized the lead for good in the seventh when Fischer, who took his fifth loss of the season, gave up three consecutive hits to start the inning. The second of the three hits was an RBI single by Beck that drove in Michael Tinsley, who singled and stole second and third, and gave KU a 7-6 advantage. K-State's shortstop Tyler Wolfe was forced to relieve Fischer after the third hit, but a sacrifice fly by Ryan Pidhaichuk and a fielding error by Yagi at second base allowed KU to tack on a pair of insurance runs.
Fischer finished the day responsible for five runs, four earned, on seven hits in two innings. The junior, who last appeared in a game on May 10 vs. Oklahoma, allowed four doubles among his seven hits.
"Fischer wasn't sharp today, unfortunately," said Hill. "He got hit around pretty good."
In total, the K-State bullpen, which entered the game with a sub-3.00 ERA in Big 12 play, surrendered all nine runs on 14 hits over six innings. Wolfe, who has appeared in three games this season as a pitcher, threw two innings and allowed just one hit and one walk while Mitch Plassmeyer (3 ER, 3 H in 1 2/3 IP) and Mark Biesma (1 ER, 3 H, 1/3 IP) also logged time.
"We just ran out of arms, to be honest with you," said Hill. "We couldn't get extended days out of Biesma or Fischer. Credit to [KU]. They kept playing, got on a roll, and hit a lot of mistakes."
K-State used the help of eight two-out walks to load the bases three times in the first five innings. While Yagi cleared the bases in the second with his fourth triple of the year following a passed ball third strike and two walks, K-State reloaded the bases in fourth when Shane Conlon and Tyler Moore drew free passes after Wolfe's double. The staged threat was nullified, though, when Max Brown popped out. In the fifth, the Wildcats loaded the bases for the final time after a leadoff single by Alex Bee and back-to-back two-out walks by Jake Wodtke and Yagi. Wolfe responded with a single through the right side off Sam Gilbert to drive in Bee to make it 6-3 K-State, but Wodtke was thrown out at home by KU right fielder Dakota Smith to end the frame.
The Wildcats, who were doubled up in hits by the Jayhawks, 14-7, had just one hit after the fifth inning, a one-out single by Clayton Dalrymple in the ninth.
"We needed a couple more big hits with two outs, bases loaded," said Hill. "I think that would have helped some things out."
KU reliever Hayden Edwards earned the win after retiring the only batter he faced in the seventh. The right-hander spelled Gilbert, who allowed one run despite two hits and four walks on 62 pitches over three innings pitched.
Stephen Villines, who took the defeat in game two of the series on Saturday, notched his 13th save of the season after holding the Wildcats to two baserunners over the eighth and ninth innings.
Both starting pitchers did not factor into the decision as K-State's Colton Kalmus did not allow a run or a hit in two innings of a scheduled short start. KU's Sean Rackoski surrendered three runs, all unearned, on two hits and three walks in 1 2/3 innings.
K-State will learn its 2015 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship fate following the conclusion of the second game of a doubleheader between Texas and Baylor. The Wildcats could finish sixth if Texas wins or seventh if Texas claims the series.
Despite the loss, K-State is 23-8 vs. KU over the last 31 meetings, including 10-4 in Lawrence.
The Wildcats, who started their Big 12 schedule with a 2-7 record, won eight of their last 15 conference games to claim their most Big 12 victories since 2013 (16-8).
K-State has lost four straight regular season finales. The last time the Wildcats won the last game of their regular season was in 2011 when K-State beat KU, 10-6, in Lawrence.