K-State Rides Six-Run Eighth Inning to Take Series

Mike Kindel recorded three hits.

May 22, 2011

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas State scored eight runs over the final two innings, including six in the eighth, and held on for a 13-9 victory over Kansas in the resumption of the second game of the series Sunday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark.

With the victory, Kansas State claimed the final spot in the 2011 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship. The Wildcats improved to 33-21 on the season and 11-14 in Big 12 play. The Jayhawks, who were eliminated from postseason contention, fell to 26-29 overall and 9-17 in conference action.

The game resumed with K-State leading 5-3 after being halted in the seventh inning Saturday due to severe weather. The Wildcats had two runners on base with one out, but couldn’t extend their lead. After Evan Marshall faced the minimum in retiring the Jayhawks in the bottom half of the inning, K-State exploded in the eight with six runs. The outburst featured seven-straight hits, including four doubles. Chase Graskewicz and Nick Martini each drove in a pair of runs with doubles, and Kent Urban singled home two more runs to take an 11-3 lead.

Kansas battled back in the eighth with four unearned runs to cut the lead to 11-7. K-State brought in two crucial runs to answer the Jayhawks in the ninth on Urban’s second-straight two-run hit to extend the lead to 13-7. James Allen, who got the Cats out of the eighth inning with a fly out, allowed two runs score in the ninth, but a line out to Jake Brown ended the game and sealed K-State’s spot in the conference championship.

Urban led the Wildcats with three hits and four RBI. Kindel, who homered to lead off the fourth inning on Saturday evening, was 3-for-4 with two RBI. Martini, who was 1-for-4, also drove in two runs.

Gerardo Esquivel (1-2) earned the win in relief as he entered the game in the sixth inning with K-State holding a 5-2 lead. With two Jayhawks on base and one out, Esquivel recorded a ground out and struck out Kaiana Eldrege to get out of the inning.

KU starter Tanner Poppe (3-6) was saddled with the loss, allowing five runs on five hits with four walks in six innings of work. The Jayhawks were led offensively by Zac Elgie, who was 3-for-5 with three runs scored.

Kansas got on the board first with a RBI ground out by Jimmy Waters in the first inning to make the score 1-0 before the first severe weather stoppage, which lasted one hour, 12 minutes.

The delay did not slow down the Cats, who came out to score two runs in the second on a Kindel RBI single before Brown beat out a potential double-play ball to score the second run.

KU tied the game at 2-2 on a Eldredge double, but a Jared King RBI ground out was followed by a two-out RBI single off the bat of Wade Hinkle to give K-State a 4-2 lead.

Kindel homer extended the Cat lead to three, but Elgie doubled to lead off the bottom of the sixth and scored on a Jake Marasco ground out to make the score 5-3.

The Cats lost the services of freshman outfielder Jared King in the second inning of the suspended game Saturday evening when he was struck by a foul ball while standing in the dugout. The ball hit above King’s right eye, causing a laceration and swelling, but he remained conscious. He was hospitalized overnight for testing and observation, but suffered no facial fractures requiring surgery.

Kansas State will complete its three-game series against KU with a 6 p.m., first pitch Sunday evening. With a victory, K-State can claim the No. 6 seed in next week’s Big 12 Championship.