Texas Edges K-State to Take Game One, 6-5

MANHATTAN, Kan. Kansas State, down 6-3 going into the bottom of the ninth inning, scored two runs in the frame, but left the tying run at third base as Texas took game one of the three-game series, 6-5, Friday evening at Tointon Family Stadium. With the win, Texas improved to 25-17 overall and 9-10 in Big 12 Conference play, while Kansas State dropped to 19-22 overall and 5-11 in conference action.


Needing three runs to send the game into extra innings for the second-consecutive game, Carter Jurica led the frame off with a walk and two batters later, Brett Scott hit a one-out single to bring the tying run to the plate in Nate Tenbrink. Tenbrink hit a 1-0 pitch on a rope, but it was right at Texas right fielder Kyle Russell for the first out of the inning. Justin Bloxom was next and was down to his last strike when he popped a ball up to shallow center field, which looked to be the final out of the game. However, Longhorn second baseman Travis Tucker dropped the ball, which allowed Jurica to score and Scott to move to third.


Jason King followed and singled to center field on a full-count pitch which brought home Scott and knocked Texas reliever Brandon Belt out of the game. Pat McCrory came in from third to pitch and stuck out Drew Biery for the final out.


Texas starter Chance Ruffin (5-3) was wild in the first inning as he gave up two runs on no hits, but settled down to allow just one run in his next 5.1 innings to take the win.  Ruffin gave up three runs on three hits, walked three, struck out six, and hit five batters in his 6.1 innings pitched. McCrory picked up his first save of the season.


Russell, Belt, Russell Moldenhauer and David Hernandez each recorded two hits for the Longhorns, while Cameron Rupp drove in a pair of runs.


Kansas State was led offensively by Scott, who was 2-for-3 with two runs scored, and King, who finished 2-for-4 with two RBI. Scott, who recorded a sacrifice bunt in the fifth inning, broke the record for career sacrifice hits as he now has 20 in his four-year career.


Kansas State scratched across two runs in the first inning, doing so without recording. Scott was hit by a pitch with one out, while Tenbrink and Bloxom followed with a walk and another hit-by-pitch to load the bases. Following a strikeout, Biery was hit by a 1-2 pitch to score Scott. Wiley was next and walked on four pitches to bring in Tenbrink. A fly out kept the bases loaded and the score at 2-0.


King added to the Wildcat lead with a solo home run to right field in the third inning, pushing the lead to 3-0.


Texas came back and took the lead with four runs in the fourth inning on K-State starter Justin Murray (2-1). Russell answered King’s shot with a solo home run of his own to lead off the inning and put the Longhorns on the board at 3-1. A Belt single and a Moldenhauer walk followed, and both runners moved up 90 feet on a sacrifice bunt. Rupp brought both runners home on a double to right field to tie the game at three.


The Longhorns weren’t finished in the inning, however, as Rupp went to third on a Hernandez single and then scored when Tucker beat out a double-play ball at first to make the game 4-3.


Kansas State had a golden opportunity to put runs up in the fifth inning as the Wildcats had runners on second and third with two outs, but Ruffin struck out King to get out of the jam and hold on to the one-run lead.


K-State missed another opportunity to put up runs in the seventh as Jordan Cruz was hit with a one-out pitch and Scott singled to left field, which moved Cruz to second and knocked Ruffin out of the game. Keith Shinaberry came out of the pen and forced Tenbrink to line out to Hernandez, who flipped to Tucker to record the double play and get out of the inning unscathed.


The Longhorns plated one run in the eighth inning as Tucker singled with two outs. He then stole second base, but Rob Vaughn’s throw went into center field, which allowed Tucker to move to third. Then Ben Hornbeck, who came on in relief following the single, threw a wild pitch, allowing Tucker to score and push the Texas lead to 5-3.


The Texas insurance run came in the ninth when Jordan Danks led off the inning with a home run to right centerfield.


Game two of the three-game series between Kansas State and Texas is set for a 2 p.m. first pitch Saturday at Tointon Family Stadium.