Two-Run Eighth Lifts Cats to 2-1 Win Friday

MANHATTAN, Kan. Kansas State rallied for two runs in the bottom of the eighth and closer Daniel Edwards pitched a perfect ninth inning for his Big 12-leading 11th save as the Wildcats knocked off Kansas, 2-1, before 1,493 fans Friday night in a Big 12 Conference series opener at Tointon Stadium.


With the win, the Cats improved to 30-17 overall and 8-11 in Big 12 play, while Kansas fell to 22-27 and 8-14. The win got the Wildcats to the 30-win mark for the third straight season and also marked the fastest a Wildcat team has reached 30 wins since the 1991 season. Also, the last time a Wildcat team won 30 games in three straight seasons was back in 1989, 1990 and 1991.


Both starting pitchers were masterful on Friday night as K-State’s Brad Hutt moved to 8-3 on the season after tossing 8.0 strong innings. The junior gave up just one run and scattered six hits while striking out six and walking none. Kansas pitcher Andy Marks surrendered just one hit in 7.0 innings, but closer Paul Smyth (3-4) ran into trouble in the eighth and gave up two runs in the loss.


After Paul McCoy led off the pivotal eighth with a strikeout, Rob Vaughn singled to right field and promptly moved to second on a wild pitch. Then, Adam Muenster lined a 2-2 pitch into right field to score Vaughn from second and tie the game at one. Muenster then stole second and moved to third on a Derek Bunker single up the middle. Eli Rumler struck out swinging for the second out and Byron Wiley was then intentionally walked to load the bases. Eddie Vasquez then beat out a throw at first after Kansas first baseman Preston Land mishandled a ground ball, which allowed Muenster to score the winning run from third.


Edwards then struck out the first two batters of the ninth and got a Brock Simpson fly out to earn his 11th save of the season, which ties the Kansas State single season record set back in 1997 by David Johnson.


Kansas broke through for the game’s first run in the top of the fifth as a Hutt wild pitch allowed Casey Larson to score from third. The Wildcats’ best scoring threat against Marks came in the sixth when Tyler Link singled up the middle and walks to Muenster and Bunker loaded the bases with one out. But, Rumler then hit into an inning-ending double play to keep the score at 1-0.


Game two of the series will now shift to Lawrence and Hoglund Ballpark. Saturday’s 3 p.m. game will be televised across the Big 12 region on Fox Sports Net, while Sunday’s finale is set for a 1 p.m. first pitch.