K-State Escapes With Another One-Run Win

MANHATTAN, Kan. Kansas State trailed 4-3 heading into the bottom of the eighth, but the Cats were able to score two in the inning and reliever James Allen was solid en route to his first career win as the Wildcats defeated UTSA, 5-4, Wednesday afternoon at Tointon Family Stadium.

 

With the victory, Kansas State improved to 17-3, tying the 2006 squad for the most wins in its first 20 games in school history. UTSA suffered its third-straight loss as the Roadrunners fell to 10-8.

 

Kansas State led 3-1 going to the eighth inning as reliever Todd Vogel faced just two batters over the minimum in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. Vogel was replaced by freshman Evan Marshall, who allowed three consecutive singles and a wild pitch, which brought in one run and put Roadrunner baserunners on second and third.

 

Allen then entered the game and gave up a RBI single to Jose Hernandez to tie the game at 3-3. After a fielder’s choice and an intentional walk to load the bases, UTSA second baseman Matthew James hit a sacrifice fly to right field to plate the go-ahead run.

 

The Wildcats showed poise in the bottom of the inning when Rob Vaughn, who entered the game in the top half of the frame as a defensive replacement, pulled a double into left field off UTSA reliever Kevin Clarke (0-1). Jordan Cruz then singled through the right side to move Vaughn to third and right-fielder Aaron Powell let the ball go underneath his glove for an error, allowing Vaughn to score the tying run as Cruz moved to second base.

 

Following a walk, a sacrifice bunt and an intentional walk to load the bases, Nick Martini hit a ground ball to second baseman James, who tried to turn a double-play and got a forceout at second. Martini beat the throw to first allowing Cruz to score the go-ahead run.

 

However, just as Tuesday-night’s contest played out, the win would not come easy for the Wildcats. Allen hit Tyler Carpenter with a pitch with one out in the top of the ninth before surrendering a walk to Marshal Davis, putting the tying run on second with UTSA preseason All-American Michael Rockett at the plate.

 

Allen got ahead in the count 1-2 when Rockett was ejected from the game for arguing balls and strikes. Ryan Rummel came in to pinch-hit, but popped out before Hernandez struck out to end the game.

 

Allen, who figured in both decisions in the series against UTSA, picked up his first collegiate win after recording his third save of the season in Tuesday night's victory. The freshman allowed just one hit in two innings of work with two walks and three strikeouts. Ryan Daniel was efficient in his fifth start of the year, surrendering one run on four hits with two walks and four strikeouts in four innings.

 

The Wildcats scored five runs on just six hits, but were able to take advantage of five UTSA walks and four Roadrunner errors. Cruz improved his batting average to over .300 after a 3-for-3 afternoon with one run scored. Justin Bloxom hit his fifth home run of the year, which was K-State’s 12th homer in the last six games.

 

UTSA scored the game’s first run in the third when Eric Johnston worked a one-out walk before a Carpenter single put runners on first and second. Davis singled up the middle to give the Roadrunners a 1-0 lead. Rockett hit a line drive into center field, but Dane Yelovich was made a running grab and doubled Carpenter off second base to end the inning and the only real scoring chance for UTSA until the eighth.

 

K-State scored two in the fourth to take the lead, and extended its advantage in the fifth inning. Carter Jurica reached on a one-out error by James in the fourth and went to second on a wild pitch before Bloxom’s homer, which carried over the left-field wall despite a strong wind, put the Cats up 2-1.

 

The Wildcats scored another unearned run the next inning when Drew Biery walked and moved to third on infield single by Cruz and a sacrifice bunt by Yelovich. With Adam Muenster at the plate, Cruz took off for second and Carpenter’s throw went into center field, allowing Biery to score and extend the Cats' lead to 3-1.

 

The top four batters in UTSA’s lineup combined for nine of the 10 Roadrunner hits, including Carpenter, who was 3-for-4. UTSA starter Marc Gomez allowed three unearned runs on four hits in five innings of work.

 

Kansas State will face its first conference test of the season as the Wildcats welcome No. 13 Oklahoma for a three-game series, beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m., at Tointon Family Stadium.