Wildcats Hold on to Defeat No. 8 Wichita State

WICHITA, Kan. No. 8 Wichita State had the tying runner in scoring position with one out in the bottom of the ninth, but Daniel Edwards struck out the final two batters to finish off the Shockers as Kansas State defeated Wichita State, 3-2, Tuesday evening at Eck Stadium.


With the victory, K-State improved to 21-23, while WSU fell to 33-10. Kansas State’s victory forced the second-straight season-series split between the two schools, as both road teams have been victorious the past two season. The Wildcats have now taken five of the last eight games from the Shockers, as they swept the two-game series in 2005.


Edwards, who came into the game in the eighth inning looking to record his eighth save of the season, gave up a single to put runners on first and second with just one out. However, the senior right hander settled down and struck out the next two batters to end the frame.


The Shockers had another opportunity to tie the game in the ninth as Edwards walked leadoff man Tyler Weber, who was lifted for a pinch runner in Cody Lassley. Lassley was then bunted over to second to put the tying run in scoring position, but, just as he did in the inning prior, Edwards fanned the final two batters to preserve the victory.


K-State starter A.J. Morris (4-2) picked up the win in a predetermined-pitch-count start, working four innings, and allowing two runs on five his, while walking two and striking out three. Thomas Rooke came out of the bullpen to throw 3.1 scoreless innings to extend his scoreless-inning streak to 17.0 innings. Wichita State’s Kole Nanney (4-1), who picked up the win against the Wildcats in Manhattan earlier in the year, took his first loss of the season as he allowed an unearned run in the fifth inning.


The Wildcats were led offensively by Justin Bloxom, Jason King and Byron Wiley, who each collected two hits, while Bloxom and Wiley each drove in one run.


Wichita State cracked the scoreboard first with a run in the first inning. Ryan Jones forced a one-out walk and scored from first on a Conor Gillaspie double to left centerfield to plate the first run of the game. The Shockers could have done more damage in the inning, however, as Dustin Coleman followed with a walk, and both he and Gillaspie moved up one base on a fly out. Morris got out of the jam as he forced Kenny Williams, Jr. to ground out to end the inning.


Kansas State came back to get the lone run back in the top of the second as King led off with a single up the middle and went first to third on a single to right field by Adam Muenster. Wiley was next and laced a single through the right side of the infield to score King and tie the game at one.


The Shockers took their one-run advantage back in the bottom half of the inning as Taylor Brown blooped a one-out single down the right-field line, stole second base, then came around on an Andy Dirks single.


Once again, Kansas State evened things up in things up in its next at bat. Jordan Cruz roped a one-out single into left and advanced to second when Brett Scott was hit by a pitch. Following a fly out, Bloxom doubled down the right-field line, which scored Cruz, while Scott halted at third. However, Bloxom went to third on the play, which forced Scott to go home, but the senior was tagged out of the final out of the frame.             


The Shockers who committed two errors in the fourth inning and came away unscathed committed two costly mistakes in the fifth to allow K-State to score the go-head run. Following two groundouts, Bloxom and King recorded back-to-back singles, and both runners moved into scoring position on a wild pitch Nanney. Muenster, who was batting during the wild pitch, hit what looked to be an inning-ending groundball to shortstop, but Coleman misplayed the ball, which allowed Bloxom to plate the eventual winning run.


The Wildcats conclude its four-game road stretch with against ranked teams as K-State travels to Columbia, Mo., to take on the 14th-ranked Missouri Tigers beginning Friday. First pitch from Simmons Field is set for 6:30 p.m.