No. 23 K-State Battles to Extra-Inning Win

AUSTIN, Texas Kansas State rode the emotions of a back-and-forth game and punched across a run in the 12th inning as the 23rd-ranked Wildcats defeated No. 2 Texas, 5-4, Saturday afternoon at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

 

With the win, Kansas State improved to 31-11 overall and 10-7 in the Big 12, moving within a half-game of first place in the league standings. Texas dropped to 29-11 overall and 12-8 in conference action.

 

The victory marked K-State’s second-ever series win in Austin and the first since 1997, while the Cats handed Texas its first home series loss this season.

 

“I think both teams just really had to fight, scratch and claw to get runs,” Coach Brad Hill said. “We got the two-run homer and, lo and behold, here they come. It was just a great battle. Both teams had a lot of fight.”

 

The Wildcats captured the series the hard way as reliever James Allen worked out of a jam in the bottom of the ninth inning with the game tied 2-2. Allen surrendered a leadoff double to Brandon Loy before Russell Moldenhauer sacrificed the potential winning run to third base. The Cats then elected to intentionally walk the next two batters. With Texas looking to tie the series at one game apiece, Allen forced a groundball double-play to send the game into extra innings.

 

Following a scoreless 10th frame, Jason King hit a one-out single into right field off Texas reliever Taylor Jungmann (4-3). After Drew Biery fanned for the second out, Jordan Cruz belted a 2-1 pitch over the K-State bullpen in left field to give K-State a 4-2 lead. The homer was the second of the game for Cruz, who launched a two-run blast in the second inning to even the score at 2-2. 

 

The Longhorns, however, fought back. Brandon Belt hit a leadoff homer in the bottom half of the inning off Thomas Rooke, pulling the Longhorns within a run at 4-3. Loy followed with a double off the left-field wall, just missing a game-tying home run. Rooke then struck out Kyle Lusson and forced a fly out to get K-State within an out of the series win. But on a 0-1 pitch, Michael Torres roped a single just over Biery’s glove at shortstop to drive in Loy and tie the game at 4-4.

 

The Wildcats, who have demonstrated remarkable resiliency throughout the season, came right back in the top of the 12th. Adam Muenster reached on a leadoff walk from Jungmann and moved to third on a single by Carter Jurica. Nick Martini then singled into center field, scoring Muenster with the go-ahead run.

 

But just as Friday night proved, the win would not come easy. Reliever Matt Applegate (2-1), who entered the game to strike out the final batter in the 11th innning, forced a fly for the first out in the 12th. David Hernandez was next and poked a single into center field.

 

Applegate, a freshman right-hander, induced a popup for the second out of the inning. Belt then singled to move the tying run to second and bring up the hot-hitting Loy.  He hit a grounder to Biery, who flipped to Jurica to force out Belt at second to preserve the win.

 

Martini, King and Cruz each recorded three-hit games for K-State, while Cruz drove in four of the five Wildcat runs with his pair of homers.

 

Loy, Texas’ freshman shortstop, went 4-for-6 with a pair of doubles to lead the Longhorns.

 

Applegate recorded his second win of the season, permitting two hits in 1.1 scoreless innings. Allen registered possibly the best outing of his young career, allowing just one hit in three innings with two walks and three strikeouts to keep Texas scoreless through the middle innings.

 

Jungmann, who entered the game as the nation’s leader in ERA, was saddled with his third loss of the season, allowing all three of Kansas State’s extra-inning runs on four hits with four strikeouts.

 

Just as it did in Friday night's contest, Texas scored in the bottom of the first when Travis Tucker led off with a single and was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Following a fly out, Kevin Keyes singled to left field to plate Tucker for a 1-0 lead.  After Preston Clark singled to right field, Cameron Rupp hit a grounder to King at third base but his throw to first was low, allowing Rupp to reach safely on an error while Keyes scored to put the Longhorns up 2-0.

 

Kansas State came right back in the top of the second to tie the game when Cruz hammered a pitch over the right-field wall for a two-run homer, his team-best eighth of the season.

 

The Wildcats look for the series sweep on Sunday with a 1 p.m., first pitch scheduled at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.