Wildcats Topple Tech in 12-4 Victory

LUBBOCK, Texas Kansas State scored four runs in the first and six in the fifth, while reliever Thomas Rooke threw 7.1 innings of shutout ball as Kansas State took game one of a three-game series from Texas Tech, 12-4, Friday evening at Dan Law Field. With the victory, Kansas State improved to 17-19 overall and 4-9 in Big 12 play, while the Red Raiders dropped to 17-22 overall and 4-12 in conference action.


Each batter in the K-State starting lineup either recorded a hit or scored a run as the Wildcats exploded for their most runs of the season. Kansas State’s 11-hit attack was led by Rob Vaughn, who was 3-for-5 with one RBI and two runs scored. The Wildcats also received multi-hit games from Jordan Cruz, who was 2-for-3, and Brett Scott, who finished 2-for-4.


Nate Tenbrink paced Kansas State with three RBI, all coming on a home run. Freshman Carter Jurica, as well as both Cruz and Scott added multi-RBI outings.


Kansas State starter Brad Hutt lasted just 1.2 innings, giving up four runs on seven hits and walking one. However, Rooke (4-1) came on in relief in the second inning and was outstanding in his longest outing of the season. The freshman left hander shutout the Red Raiders in 7.1 innings, allowing just three hits, walking one batter, and striking out a career-high five batters in 103 pitches.


Kansas State looked as though they would rout Texas Tech from the beginning as the Wildcats jumped out in front early, plating four runs in the first inning. Texas Tech starter A.J. Ramos walked the first four batters of the inning, the last brining in Cruz for the first run of the game. Jurica followed with the first hit of the game, singling up the middle to score Adam Muenster and Tenbrink and pushing the lead out to 3-0. Following a sacrifice bunt, Drew Biery hit a sacrifice fly to deep centerfield to plate Justin Bloxom and give the Cats its 4-0 lead.


Texas Tech answered K-State’s four runs with four of its own in the bottom half of the inning. Willie Rueda led off with an infield single and then scored from first on a double down the leftfield line by Joe Kenworthy. Following a groundout, Roger Kieschnick drove home Kenworthy on a single through the left side to cut the lead in half at 4-2.


Another double, this one by Chris Richburg followed, scoring Kieschnick, while Richburg came around on a Jason Seefeld single to tie the game at four apiece.


In the bottom of the second, it looked as though Hutt had bounced back from the first inning as he retired the first two men he faced. However, after a single and a walk, Hutt’s night was over and he was replaced with Rooke. The freshman came on and retired Kieschnick for the final out of the inning, starting a string of six-of-seven retired by the lefty.


Kansas State backed up Rooke with another two runs in the fourth off Tech reliever Brian Cloud (1-1). Biery led off the inning with a double to right center and moved to third on a single to right by Vaughn. Vaughn then stole second base during Scott’s at-bat, which resulted in an RBI groundout to score Biery, and Vaughn moved to third. Cruz came up and laced a triple to deep centerfield, scoring Vaughn. The triple by Cruz was the Wildcats’ second of the year, both coming off the bat of the junior outfielder.


K-State put the game away in the fifth inning as the Wildcats doubled their margin with six runs in the frame. Back-to-back walks by Jurica and King knocked Cloud out of the game. Biery sacrificed both runners over and Vaughn singled to leftfield to score Jurica. Kansas State received another sacrifice in its next at bat as Scott flied out to centerfield, scoring King and pushing the lead out to 8-4. Following a Cruz hit-by-pitch and a Muenster double, which scored Vaughn, Tenbrink blasted a 0-1 pitch to straightaway centerfield, over a 24-foot wall, for a three-run home run to put the game out of reach.


Kansas State will go for the series win over Texas Tech for the second-straight year as the two teams meet for a 3 p.m. first pitch Saturday at Dan Law Field.