Top 10 Moments of the 2000s: No. 6

Cats Take Two at No. 2 Texas

Note:
This is the fifth edition of a 10-part series chronicling the top 10 Kansas State Baseball moments of the 2000s, counting down to the Wildcats' 2010 season opener on February 19 against Delaware. The events were voted on by an eight-person panel consisting of: Head Coach Brad Hill; former Head Coach and Director of Development Mike Clark; Associate Athletics Director Casey Scott; Director of Baseball Operations Justin Tadtman; Sports Information Director Kenny Lannou; Baseball SID Ryan Lackey; and the Voices of K-State Baseball, Brian Smoller and Matt Walters.

MANHATTAN, Kan. - It was a statement series. One that proved Kansas State belonged among the elite in college baseball in 2009.

For those outside the program, winning just one game at UFCU-Dish Falk Field against the second-ranked Texas Longhorns would be an accomplishment. The Wildcats were facing the top pitching staff in the nation at one of the biggest ballparks in the country. The Longhorn pitching staff boasted a cool 2.28 team ERA, including a nation-leading 1.10 ERA from freshman Taylor Jungmann. Also, the Cats were just 5-20 in Austin going into the series.

None of that mattered.

On Friday night, the Wildcats rode the right arm of All-American A.J. Morris, who threw his second complete game of the season on the way to his school-record 10th win of the season in a 4-2 win.

K-State, which trailed 2-0 through five innings of play, received back-to-back solo homers from Justin Bloxom and Jason King in the top of the sixth to tie the game. The Wildcats took the lead in the eighth inning when King singled with one out and stole second base before Drew Biery singled through the right side of the infield to score King.

The Wildcats then tallied an important insurance run in the ninth inning when Nick Martini singled to center, stole second base and scored on Bloxom's triple to right-center field.

The Friday-night victory gave K-State 30 for the season, the 12th team in school history to top the 30-win plateau.

Kansas State then rode the emotions of a back-and-forth game on Saturday as the two teams played to a 2-2 tie after nine innings. Following a scoreless 10th, Jason King hit a one-out single into right field and, two batters later, Jordan Cruz belted a 2-1 pitch over the K-State bullpen in left field to give K-State a 4-2 lead. The homer was the second of the game for Cruz, who launched a two-run blast in the second inning to even the score at 2-2.

The Longhorns, however, fought back. Brandon Belt hit a leadoff homer in the bottom half of the inning off Thomas Rooke, pulling the Longhorns within a run at 4-3. Loy followed with a double off the left-field wall, just missing a game-tying home run. Rooke then struck out Kyle Lusson and forced a fly out to get K-State within an out of the series win. But on a 0-1 pitch, Michael Torres roped a single just over Biery's glove at shortstop to drive in Loy and tie the game at four.

But just as they had done all season, the Cats battled back in the top of the 12th. Adam Muenster reached on a leadoff walk from Jungmann and moved to third on a single by Carter Jurica. Martini then singled into center field, scoring Muenster with the winning run.

The victory marked K-State's second-ever series win in Austin and the first since 1997, while the Cats handed Texas its first home series loss of the season. And after a 6-6 tie on Sunday, the Cats moved up five spots in the Baseball America Top 25 the next week to No. 16, its highest ranking ever.

The Texas series was historic in its own right. But the series, which was part of a 9-0-1 record over 16 days, propelled the Cats down the stretch and into their first NCAA Regional appearance.

Top 10 K-State Baseball Moments of the 2000's
No. 10: Into the Bottom of the 20th We Go... (2/9)
No. 9: Cats Top KU Before Stadium-Record Crowd (2/10)
No. 8: Hill, Morris Garner National Awards (2/11)
No. 7: K-State Advances to First Big 12 Tournament (2/12)
No. 6: Cats Take Two at No. 2 Texas
No. 5: February 14
No. 4: February 15
No. 3: February 16
No. 2: February 17
No. 1: February 18