No. 14 Missouri Tops Kansas State, 11-7

COLUMBIA, Mo. Kansas State, down six runs entering the ninth inning for the second-consecutive day, again put together a rally and had the tying run at the plate, but Scooter Hicks forced Justin Bloxom into a game-ending double play as the 14th-ranked Tigers defeated Kansas State, 11-7, Saturday afternoon at Taylor Stadium. With the victory, Missouri took the series and improved to 31-15 overall and 11-9 in Big 12 play, while the Wildcats dropped to 21-25 overall and 6-14 in league action.

 

Down 11-5 entering the ninth, Drew Biery and Nate Tenbrink singled and doubled, respectively, off Missouri reliever Ian Berger to put runners on second and third with no outs. Adam Muenster followed and hit a groundball to second baseman Greg Folgia, but Foliga misplayed the ball which allowed Muenster to reach safely and Biery to score. Following a foul fly out, Jordan Cruz was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Brett Scott, who rifled a single into left field to plate Tenbrink and keep the bases loaded. Hicks came on in relief of Berger, but Bloxom hit a 0-1 pitch to second base to begin the game-ending 4-6-3 double play.

 

K-State’s Brad Hutt (4-4) was saddled with the loss after allowing eight runs on 12 hits in 5.0 innings, while walking two and striking out four. Kyle Gibson (7-1) picked up the win for Mizzou as the right hander went 7.0 innings, allowing three runs on six hits with three strikeouts. Hicks recorded his fifth save of the season and second of the series.

 

Missouri was led offensively by Ryan Lollis and Aaron Senne, who each went 3-for-4, while Senne hit his 12th home run of the year. Foliga, Jacob Priday, Trevor Coleman and Kurt Calvert also collected multi-hit games.

 

Biery led the Wildcats with a 3-for-4 afternoon with two runs driven in, both coming on a home run. Cruz and Jason King each went 2-for-4 with a home run.

 

Just as they did on Friday night, Kansas State took a 1-0 advantage after the top of the first as Cruz blasted a leadoff home run to right center-field. The homer was his third of the year and the second time this season he led off a contest with a round-tripper as he hit one to lead off K-State’s season at California on Feb. 22.

 

Missouri came back with two in the bottom half of the inning with a little help from the sun. Hutt led off with a strikeout and a groundout before giving up a single to Senne. Priday followed and hit what looked to be an inning-ending fly ball to center field, but Cruz lost the ball in the sun and it landed behind him, which allowed Senne to score the first Missouri run and Priday to advance to third. Coleman was next and hit a pop fly to shortstop, but Biery, too, lost the ball in the sun as it dropped behind him and Priday scored.

 

The Tigers extended its lead to four in the second inning with three-consecutive two-out hits. Calvert, who hit a one out single, moved to third on a two-out double by Foliga, and both runners scored on a single by Lollis to make the game 4-1. Senne followed by doubling on the very next pitch, which scored Lollis to push the lead to 5-1.

 

Kansas State had a couple of chances to get back into the game with leadoff base hits in the fourth and fifth innings, but Gibson settled down to retire the next three batters in each inning to keep the Wildcats off the scoreboard.

 

The wheels appeared to come off for Kansas State in the bottom of the fifth as the Tigers plated three runs, again coming with clutch two-out hits. Coleman led the frame off with a single to center field and was followed by two-consecutive fly outs to right. However, a single and two doubles followed to score the trio of runs and extend the lead to 8-1.

 

K-State attempted to get back into the game with two two-run home runs the seventh and eighth innings. King led off the seventh with a single and, two batters later, Biery blasted a ball over the right center-field wall for his second homer of the series to get the Cats within five at 8-3.

 

In the eighth, Cruz hit a leadoff infield single to shortstop and was then bunted over to second by Scott. Following a strikeout, King blasted a 1-2 pitch over the right-field wall for his fourth home run of the year and cut the Mizzou lead to 8-5.

 

Missouri answered K-State’s home run with a two-run shot of its own as Lollis singled and Senne followed with his second home run of the series to push the Tigers back five at 10-5. Priday then doubled down the left-field line and then stole third base. Two batters later, Gray hit a sacrifice fly to deep right field to plate Priday and give Missouri its 11-5 advantage entering the ninth.

 

Kansas State will attempt to salvage the third game of the series against Missouri on Sunday, which is slated for a 1 p.m. first pitch at Taylor Stadium.