K-State Downed by No. 5 Wichita State

MANHATTAN, Kan. Wichita State reliever Kohl Nanney forced a one-out, bases-loaded double play in the bottom of the ninth as the fifth-ranked Shockers held for a 4-3 over Kansas State Tuesday night at Tointon Family Stadium. With the win, the Shockers improved to 25-4, while the Wildcats fell to 15-16.


Needing one run entering the bottom of the ninth, Justin Bloxom hit a leadoff single to centerfield and represented the tying run. Derek Bunker then pinch hit for freshman Jason King and laid down a perfect attempt at a sacrifice bunt and beat out the throw to give the Wildcats runners on first and second with no outs. Another pinch hitter, Tyler Ruch, laid down another bunt to put the tying and winning runs in scoring position. Nanney then intentionally walked Drew Biery to load the bases for Rob Vaughn, but the right-handed reliever forced Vaughn into a 4-6-3 double play to end the game.


Shocker starter Tim Kelley (4-1) picked up the win after allowing three runs on five hits in 5.0 innings. K-State starter A.J. Morris (3-2) was saddled with the loss as he gave up four runs on five hits in 4.1 innings. The Wildcat bullpen bounced back after a disappointing weekend as Thomas Rooke, Trevor Hurley, and Daniel Edwards combined to shutout Wichita State in 4.2 innings while allowing just two hits and striking out five Shockers.


Wichita State threatened in the second inning, but Morris was able to work out of the jam. Andy Dirks led the inning off with a one-out single, stole second base, and then moved to third on a Josh Workman single. Morris was able to get the last two outs, however, by way of a strikeout and a ground out to keep the game scoreless.


Although Morris worked his way out of the second, the Shockers were able to punch across one run in the third. Dirks forced a one-out walk and then stole second during Ryan Jones’ at bat, which resulted in a strikeout. Conor Gillaspie came up and hit a 1-1 pitch off the right field wall for a RBI double. The Shox could have done more damage in the inning, however, as Tyler Weber reached on an error, which allowed Gillaspie move to third and extended the inning, but Morris forced a groundout to keep the damage to a minimum.


Kansas State responded to Morris’ effort by plating two runs in the bottom half of the inning. Vaughn hit a leadoff single, but was out at second on a fielder’s choice by Brett Scott. Scott then went to second on single by Jordan Cruz and Adam Muenster followed with an RBI single to right centerfield to score Scott and move Cruz to third. Cruz then came home on a sacrifice fly by Nate Tenbrink to give the Cats a 2-1 lead.


Following a scoreless fourth inning, Wichita State pushed across three runs in the top of the fifth to take the lead. Jones tripled with one out and, following a walk by Gillaspie, scored on a double by Weber, which moved Gillaspie to third. Morris then walked Dusty Coleman to load the bases, which ended his night, and Rooke came on in relief. Tyler Hill was the first to face the freshman lefty and drew a RBI walk to push the lead to 4-2.


Trying to chip away at the Shocker lead, the Wildcats came back with a run in the bottom of the sixth. Muenster led off with a double and two batters later moved to third on a groundout. He then scored when Coleman, the WSU shortstop, committed a two-out fielding error to put the Cats within one.


Muenster led the eight-hit attack with a three-for-four night with a run scored. The sophomore extended his hitting streak to 16 games, the longest K-State hitting streak since 2006.


The Wildcats will jump back into Big 12 play as Kansas State hosts Baylor for a three-game series beginning 6:30 p.m. Friday evening at Tointon Family Stadium.