K-State Rallies from Seven for Win

MANHATTAN, Kan. Kansas State trailed 7-0 through three innings but outscored Northwestern 12-1 over the final six frames to complete a two-game series sweep with a 12-8 win Wednesday night at Tointon Family Stadium.

 

With the win, K-State (20-5) became the second fastest team to get to 20 wins in school history. It also marked the second come-from-behind victory when trailing after seven innings this season, both coming against Northwestern, which fell to 4-16 heading into its first weekend of Big Ten play.

 

Kansas State, which used seven pitchers on the evening, received solid outings from a pair of freshmen right-handers in Dustin Hobbs and James Allen. Hobbs picked up his first career win after throwing two innings of one-hit ball with three strikeouts. Allen entered with a non-save situation in the ninth and retired the side in order to preserve the win.

 

Senior shortstop Drew Biery tallied five RBI in a 1-for-5 night at the plate, with his two-run single in the eighth putting the dagger into Northwestern. Redshirt freshman Matt Giller, who pinch-hit in the fourth inning, was 2-for-2 with a pair of RBI, while Dane Yelovich finished the evening 3-for-4.

 

Northwestern scored seven runs on nine hits including two doubles and three home runs in the first three innings. NU put up four runs in the third inning when a solo-home run preceded a single and a double, which brought in another run. Following a sacrifice bunt, Paul Snieder hit a two-run homer over the right-field wall to put NU ahead 7-0.

 

The Cats began to rally in the fourth when a hit-by-pitch, a single and a fielder’s choice put runners on first and third with one out. Biery was next and hit what looked to be a sacrifice fly to plate a run, but the Northwestern right-fielder dropped the ball allowing Carter Jurica to score without recording an out.

 

After a strikeout and a walk to load the bases, designated hitter Mike Kindel was lifted for Giller, who came through with a two-run, two-out single into center field to cut the Northwestern lead to four. The Cats weren’t done as Yelovich singled through the left side of the infield to bring home another run and make the score 7-4.

 

Kansas State continued its comeback with another three runs over the next two innings. Jurica led the fifth off with a walk and moved to third on a one-out double off the center-field wall by Jason King. Biery hit a RBI groundout to second base before a Jordan Cruz single scored King.

 

In the meantime, K-State's relievers slowed down the Northwestern attack as Matt Applegate retired the side in the fourth and worked around a leadoff single in the fifth.

 

Northwestern extended its lead to two in the sixth inning when it received a leadoff single by Trevor Stevens, who stole second base and moved to third on an error, before scoring on a RBI groundout.

 

Kansas State answered Northwestern’s run in the sixth with one of its own when Giller began the frame with an infield hit and moved to second on a sacrifice by Yelovich. Adam Muenster followed with a single through the right side to score Giller.

 

Hobbs entered the game in the seventh and shut down Northwestern the next two innings, setting up K-State to complete the comeback.

 

Down 8-7, Kansas State scored five runs over the next two innings to turn the deficit into a comfortable four-run lead. Justin Bloxom doubled to lead off the seventh, moved to third on a fly out and scored on a Biery groundout.  It was Biery's third RBI without recording a hit.

 

In the eighth, Rob Vaughn was hit by the second pitch of the inning and moved to third on a Yelovich single. After an intentional walk to load the bases, Jurica stroked an infield single to put K-State ahead for the first time at 9-8. Following a strikeout, King worked a walk on a full count to score another run before Biery’s single broke open the game.

 

Northwestern was led at the plate by Chris Lashmet, who went 2-for-4, while Snieder paced NU with two RBI.

 

The Wildcats will hit the road in Big 12 action for the first time this season as they travel to Waco, Texas, to face Baylor in a three-game series beginning at 6:30 p.m., Friday.