K-State Hangs On For Series-Opening Win

NORMAN, Okla. Three different Wildcats recorded multi-hit games and the pitching staff came through in the clutch once again, as Kansas State defeated Oklahoma, 6-4, Friday evening at L. Dale Mitchell Park. With the victory, the Wildcats improved to 24-25 overall and 8-14 in Big 12 play, while the Sooners dropped to 29-21-1 overall and 6-15-1 in conference action.


K-State, who has now won three-in-a-row, pounded out six doubles on the night, including three from Justin Bloxom, who finished the game 3-for-5 with one run driven in. Drew Biery, who recorded a pair of two-baggers, was also 3-for-5 with two RBI. Jason King finished the evening 1-for-4 with one RBI.


K-State starter Brad Hutt (5-4) picked up the win after a quality 6.2-inning performance. The senior sprayed six hits, gave up three runs and earned his third-career victory against Oklahoma in the process.


Daniel Edwards slammed the door on the Sooners for the final out of the eighth with the bases loaded downed OU in the ninth to record his 10th save of the season. The senior is now one save away from tying the single-season saves record for the second-consecutive year. He surrendered just one hit in 1.1 innings pitched and struck out two of the five batters his faced.


The Wildcats got things going early as they plated a pair of runs in the first inning, the fifth-straight game in which K-State has scored to open the game. Brett Scott got things going with a one-out single to right field and Nate Tenbrink followed with a double to center field. However, the ball was mishandled by Sooner center fielder Aljay Davis, which allowed Scott to score and move Tenbrink to third. Bloxom followed with a double to left center field, scoring Tenbrink, and pushing the Cats out to a 2-0 lead.


After Hutt sat down the Sooners in the first, Byron Wiley led off the second inning with a walk and Oklahoma made the quick move to remove its starter, Jeremy Erban (1-3) from the game. C.J. Blue came out of the pen to strike out Adam Muenster and, following a walk, Blue forced a fly out and a ground out to get out of the inning unscathed.


K-State doubled its margin in the third inning as Tenbrink was hit in the head by the first pitch of the inning and Bloxom followed with a double to put runners on second and third with no outs. King was next and hit a deep fly ball to deep right field, scoring Tenbrink and moving Bloxom to third. Biery then brought in Bloxom with yet another double to push the lead to 4-0.


OU got back of the runs back in the bottom half of the inning as Jamie Johnson worked a one-out walk and, following a fly out, Mike Gosse pounded a two-run home run over the right field wall to put the Sooners on the scoreboard at 4-2.


Each team went scoreless for the next three innings as Hutt and Blue tamed each opposing team’s bats, but the Wildcats eventual got to Blue in the seventh as they tacked on two much-needed insurance runs. Tenbrink reached on a fielder’s choice for the first out of the inning and went first-to-third on a double to right field by Bloxom, which would be the end for Blue. Ryan Mottern came on and faced King, who reached on a fielding error by Sooner first baseman Aaron Baker. The error allowed Tenbrink to score, but Bloxom was thrown out at the plate for the second out of the inning. Biery was next and laced a double into the right center-field gap, scoring King, and pushing the Cats out to a 6-2 advantage.


The Sooners came back with one run in the bottom of the inning as three-consecutive singles brought in one run. However, the damage could have been more as Davis, the third man to single in the inning, brought home a run, but Johnson was thrown out at third for the second out of the inning. Thomas Rooke then came into the game and forced Gosse to ground out and end the inning.


After sitting down the Wildcats in order to start the eighth, Oklahoma plated another run in the bottom of the inning. Baker led the frame off with an infield single and scored on a J.T. Wise double, which would be the end for Rooke. Trevor Hurley came on in relief and threw a wild pitch on his first delivery, which moved Wise to third, but did sit down the first two Sooners he faced.


Hurley was not as fortunate during the next two at bats as he walked one and hit another to load the bases. Edwards, who has been put into tough positions all year long, came through once again to strike out Johnson and leave the bases loaded, demising the final scoring opportunity for Oklahoma.


Kansas State and Oklahoma continue its three-game series with a 7 p.m. first pitch Saturday evening at L. Dale Mitchell Park.