K-State Tops Kansas Sunday to Sweep Series

MANHATTAN, Kan. With the bases loaded and the game tied in the bottom of the ninth, Justin Bloxom was hit by the first pitch he saw to bring in pinch runner Carter Jurica and complete the series sweep over in-state rival Kansas, 11-10, Sunday afternoon at Tointon Family Stadium.  


With the win, the Wildcats finished the regular season with an even overall record of 27-27 and wrapped up conference play at 11-16. The Wildcats finished with their best conference record since a 13-13 tally in 2002 and finished tied for sixth with Baylor in the conference standings, the best finish since tying for fifth in 2002.


The victory also marked the first three-game sweep by K-State over a conference opponent since 2006 and the first three-game sweep over Kansas since 2002. The Wildcats, who will enter next week’s Big 12 Championship as the No. 7 seed, have now won seven-straight over the Jayhawks. Kansas fell to 30-27 overall and 9-18 in league action.


Kansas State was down 10-9 entering the ninth inning after Justin Ellrich hit a two-run home run in the top of the ninth, but the Wildcats led the frame off with a single by pinch hitter Byron Wiley off of Kansas reliever Brett Bollman (2-3). Rob Vaughn was next and belted a double down the left-field line Kansas State’s only extra-base hit of the afternoon which scored Wiley from first to tie the game at 10. Dane Yellovich then sacrificed Jurica over to third and Kansas countered by intentionally walking Derek Bunker and Brett Scott to load the bases.


Sam Freeman then came out of the Jayhawk bullpen and struck out Nate Tenbrink on three pitches for the second out, but Freeman hit Bloxom on the first pitch of the next at bat to clinch the series for the Wildcats.


After going 3-for-4 with two RBI including the game winner on Saturday, Bunker was again brilliant as he went 4-for-5 with two RBI and three stolen bases. Yelovich put together his best game as a Wildcat with a career-high three hits and three RBI, while also stealing two bases. Jason King recorded his 15th multi-hit game of hit of the season, going 2-for-5 with one run scored.


The Jayhawks jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead as Justin Murray gave up a walk and a single before John Allman hit a 3-1 pitch over the center-field wall for a three-run homer.


Kansas State came to life in the second inning as the Wildcats plated four runs on four hits. Tenbrink led things off with a walk and was sacrificed over the second before Drew Biery drove him in with a single. Adam Muenster followed with another single and Yelovich brought both runners in to tie the game at three. Bunker was next and singled through the right side, which moved Yelovich to third. Bunker then stole second base and Yelovich went home on the throw to give the Cats the 4-0 lead.


Kansas tied the game up with a solo homer in the third, but K-State took back its lead in the bottom of the fourth, thanks to aggressiveness on the base paths and a Kansas error. Yelovich worked a one-out walk and stole second and third on two-straight pitches. However, while stealing third, KU catcher Buck Afenir’s throw got away, which allowed Yelovich to score.


In the sixth, Kansas plated two runs on three-straight two-out hits, including a double by Casey Larson to get within two at 8-6. After an unearned run by K-State in the sixth, the Jayhawks collected another two scores on a two-run homer by Larson in the eighth to set up the final stages of the game.


The Wildcats continue their season on Wednesday at the 2008 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship at Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City. Times and dates for the games will be announced at www.k-statesports.com as soon as they become available.