Seniors Lead K-State to Comeback Win

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Daniel Dellasega lined a two-strike, two-out run-scoring single in the 10th inning to complete a five-run comeback as No. 23 Kansas State downed Texas A&M, 8-7, Friday night at Olsen Field.

The win was significant for K-State, which won at Olsen Field for the first time since 2004. The Wildcats notched their 14th conference victory in 24 games, tying last year's team for the most league wins in school history, and improved to 35-16 overall to equal the 1976 squad for the second-highest win total ever.

"We hung in there and just persevered," head coach Brad Hill said. "We had huge at-bats by our seniors. After they walked (Nick) Martini to load the bases, Dellasega comes up after having a rough night. He came up big for us there in the end."

The Wildcats, who trailed 6-1 after four innings, got the game-winning rally started in the 10th when freshman Chase Graskewicz singled up the middle. A sacrifice bunt by Jake Brown moved pinch-runner Matt Applegate to second base and the Aggies intentionally walked Adam Muenster. Carter Jurica followed with a single into left field and Applegate was sent home, only to be gunned down at the plate by Texas A&M's Joaquin Hinojosa for the second out.

Martini, the Big 12's leading hitter, was then intentionally walked for the second time to bring up Dellasega. The senior catcher, who collected an RBI single in the first inning but struck out in his next four at-bats, delivered in the clutch when he dropped a single into right field on a 1-2 pitch to score Muenster.

Muenster fueled the Wildcats' comeback with a big night at the plate. The fifth-year senior, who was 4-for-5, gave K-State some life in the fifth when he hammered a two-run homer to cut the A&M lead to 6-3.  An inning later, Muenster greeted Aggie reliever John Stilson on his first pitch with a two-run single that made the score 7-5. Jurica then smashed a ground-rule double to center field to bring the Cats within a run at 7-6. 

The Cats used some two-out magic and an error to get the game tied in the eighth. After Stilson retired the first two batters, Muenster and Jurica singled. On a 1-2 pitch, Martini chopped a ball in front of home plate that Stilson fielded near the foul line. His throw to first base went off Martini's elbow into right field, allowing Muenster to score. 

K-State relievers Evan Marshall and James Allen were phenomenal as the duo combined to hold Texas A&M scoreless for the final five frames, allowing just two hits and striking out six. The sophomores retired 12 of the 14 batters they faced with Marshall pitching three innings before Allen came on in the ninth.

Allen picked up his fifth win of the season by tossing two no-hit innings with a strikeout. Marshall gave up just two hits in his stint and struck out five batters, his highest total as a relief pitcher this season.

"You can't say enough about Evan Marshall and James Allen in the back end of the game," Hill said. "They were able to stop the game right there while we had good at-bats against a really good guy in Stilson."

The top four batters in K-State's lineup -- Muenster, Jurica, Martini and Dellasega -- combined to go 10-for-19 with seven RBI, four runs scored and five walks. Muenster recorded his second four-hit game of the season, while he tied his career high with four RBI and scored four times. Jurica added three hits, his 21st multi-hit contest of the year.

Aggie reliever Nick Fleece (1-2) suffered the loss in A&M's second-straight against K-State. The Wildcats also touched starter Barret Loux for six runs on six hits in 5.2 innings.

Kansas State will try for its first ever series win at Texas A&M on Saturday with a 2:05 p.m., first pitch from Olsen Field.