Complete-Game Shutout Lifts Cats to Victory

MANHATTAN, Kan. Junior Justin Murray registered the best start of his career, throwing a complete-game shutout and propelling the Wildcats to a 5-0 win over Binghamton Saturday afternoon at Tointon Family Stadium. With the win, Kansas State takes the series and improves its record to 9-11, while Binghamton drops to 5-10.  


Murray (2-0) sprayed just five hits on the afternoon, four of which were singles. He struck out six Bearcats and at one point retired nine of 10 batters he faced. The nine-inning, 107 pitch outing was the longest of his career, besting his 6.2-inning effort against James Madison on Feb. 25, 2007. He also became the first Wildcat to record a complete-game shutout since Brad Hutt did so against North Dakota State on March 9 of last year.


Nate Tenbrink led K-State’s offensive charge with two RBI on a double in the ninth inning. Dane Yelovich, Justin Bloxom and Carter Jurica each drove in one run. The Cats, who came into the game leading the Big 12 in stolen bases, recorded five in the game, including two by Yelovich.


The Cats improved their streak of scoring in the first inning to four games as they pushed across one run in the first frame. Yelovich led off the inning as he reached on an error by Bearcat third baseman Brian Ivan. He then stole second base and moved to third on a bunt single by Adam Munester. Following a walk, Bloxom hit a sac fly to shallow right field, which allowed Yelovich to score the game’s first run.


The Cats came back with another run in the second. Carter Jurica forced a walk by Binghamton starter Jeff Dennis (1-2) and stole second. Yelovich then pulled a 1-1 pitch down the left field line for a double, which brought in Jurica from second to put the Cats up 2-0.


Both teams went scoreless for the next five innings. Kansas State had scoring opportunities in both the third and fourth innings as the Cats had a runner on third, but Dennis shut down the Cats to keep his team in the game.


Binghamton had a golden opportunity to do get back into the game in the fifth as the Bearcats had runners on second and third with two outs. However, Murray settled down and forced Ryan James to fly out to center to end the only Binghamton scoring threat of the afternoon.


K-State broke away from the Bearcats with three in the eighth inning to push its lead to 5-0. Bloxom and Jason King led the inning off with back-to-back singles, both through the right side of the infield. Tenbrink brought both runners home on a double to left centerfield, and he moved to third on a throw to the plate. Following a groundout to the pitcher and a walk, Jurica grounded out the shortstop to drive in Tenbrink for the Cats’ final run.


With the Wildcats up 5-0, Binghamton gave one last effort to tie the game in the ninth inning as the first two batters singled to give the Bearcats runners on first and second with no outs. K-State head coach Brad Hill visited the mound, but opted to give Murray the opportunity to finish out the game. Murray responded by forcing three fly ball outs to each one of the outfielders to preserve the shutout.


Kansas State will go for the sweep over Binghamton on Sunday as the two teams conclude their three-game series. First pitch from Tointon Family Stadium is set for 1 p.m.