K-State Eliminated from Big 12 Championship, Loses to OU

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TULSA, Okla.
-- K-State had its season come to a close on Friday as Oklahoma scored a pair of two-out runs in the top of the ninth to eliminate the Wildcats from the 2015 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship with a 3-1 decision at ONEOK Field.

Despite starting pitcher
Corey Fischer throwing a career-high eight-plus innings in his first start since March 22, the Wildcats (27-30, 10-14 Big 12) saw Kolbey Carpenter start off the ninth with the first of two infield singles by the Sooners (34-26) in the final frame. After Carpenter moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and then to third on a wild pitch thrown by reliever Lucas Benenati, Robert Tasin hit a high chopper in between the pitcher's mound and second base. The ball was fielded by shortstop Tyler Wolfe, but a fumble on the transfer resulted in a no-throw and Carpenter crossing home for the game-winning run. Hunter Haley subsequently hit a double into right field, putting Tasin at third where he scored on Benenati's second wild pitch of the frame.

With Carpenter being Fischer's responsibility in the ninth, the K-State junior took the loss, his sixth of the year, after allowing two runs on seven hits. The right-hander did not issue any walks, a first in his seven starts this season, while also striking out three.

"Heck of a ballgame," said K-State head coach Brad Hill. "[Fischer] gave us a great effort on the mound. That's what we had to have and we got it."

Fischer was efficient with his career-high 91 pitches in the career-long outing as he did not throw more than 12 in any inning after the fourth. Over his final four-plus frames, he used 51 pitches, including a stretch of nine batters from the third through the fifth in which he only threw 13.

"The breaking ball was working early, then toward the end I had to adjust it," said Fischer. "They were keying on the breaking ball early, swinging through it. They had some solid contact so I switched to the two-seam and got it down."

Friday marked only the third time this season K-State had its starting pitcher throw into the ninth inning, with the first two occurrences being registered by redshirt sophomore Nate Griep in complete-game efforts.

K-State was able to strike first in the game when Tyler Moore plated Carter Yagi with a single in the first inning that gave the Wildcats a 1-0 lead. However, the Wildcat offense was neutralized by Oklahoma reliever Jeffrey Curran, who scattered four hits over 5 1/3 shutout innings. The left-hander, who spelled starting pitcher Alec Hansen and his three walks in two innings pitched, also struck out three and did not issue any free passes after he entered the game to start the third.

"The left-handed pitching got us again," said Hill. "The left hand was a nemesis of our team all year long. We've really struggled against left-handers and Coach [Pete] Hughes went to [Curran] pretty quick. He got us, unfortunately."

Jacob Evans ended up with the win for the Sooners as the left-hander retired all five of the batters he faced. The junior was summoned in the eighth when Jake Wodtke, who matched his career-high in hits with three, laced a one-out single off Curran. Wodtke managed to work his way to third base when he broke for second despite Evans' pickoff attempt towards first. Oklahoma second baseman Kyle Mendenhall misplayed the first baseman Carpenter's throw in attempt to put out Wodtke at second as the ball sailed into centerfield and placed the K-State second baseman 90 feet from home. The threat was ended, though, when Wolfe grounded out to second base.

The Wildcats finished the game 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position, including hitting into two inning-ending double plays with runners on second or third.

K-State's 27 wins were its most in a season since 2013 while the trip to the Big 12 Championship was its seventh in the last eight years.

Tyler Wolfe, who finished 1-for-3 with a walk, ended the season with a 22-game on-base streak. The junior matched Shane Conlon for the longest by a Wildcat in 2015.

Friday was the first time this season that the team that scored first in the K-State vs. Oklahoma matchups did not win. On May 8 and 20, K-State scored first and went on to win 5-0 and 7-3, respectively. On May 9 and 10, Oklahoma was first on the board before winning 5-3 and 4-3, respectively. The Wildcats finished the year 17-8 when they scored first in a game.

K-State lost by a combined four runs in the three losses to the Sooners in 2015. Overall this year, the Wildcats were 8-11 in games decided by two runs or less.