Hutt Leads Wildcats to Tournament Win

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. Brad Hutt scattered three hits over 8.0 innings and tied the Kansas State record for wins in a season as the Wildcats rebounded for a 5-1 win over Nebraska Thursday night in Big 12 Tournament action at Bricktown Ballpark.


With the win, the Wildcats (34-23) remain in contention to play in Sunday’s championship game and are just one win away from tying the school record for wins in a season, which was set back in 1976. K-State also improved to 3-3 all-time in Big 12 Tournament play with the win on Thursday.


Hutt (9-4) was magnificent on the mound, which included a string of 13 straight Huskers retired until a throwing error on Nate Tenbrink in the sixth. The junior scattered three hits and allowed just one unearned run in 8.0 innings. The Papillion, Neb., native tied four other past Wildcat pitchers for the school record in wins, most recently Dan Driskill, who had nine wins back in 1992.


The Wildcats jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second as Tyler Ruch got things started with a one-out bunt single and moved to second on a passed ball. Jordan Cruz then dropped a single to center to put runners on the corners. Eli Rumler then grounded to second and Nebraska infielder Jake Opitz let the ball go right through his legs to allow Ruch to score and Cruz to move to third. Eddie Vasquez then executed a safety squeeze that scored Cruz to give K-State the early lead.


K-State extended its lead to 3-0 in the fourth as two walks and a Husker error led to a run and the Cats had the bases loaded with one out after a second error, but Adam Muenster lined into a double play to end the inning.


Nebraska cut the lead to 3-1 in the top of the sixth after Tenbrinks’s throwing error and Andrew Brown’s RBI-single plated the Husker’s first run. With runners at first and second, Hutt got out of the inning with a 6-4-3 double play to keep the margin at 3-1.


Vasquez and Muenster each collected run-scoring singles in the bottom of the eighth as the Wildcats plated a couple of insurance runs to take a 5-1 lead. Daniel Edwards came in to work the ninth and got the first two batters out before loading the bases with two hits and a walk. But, Jake Mort flied out to left to end the game.


Muenster, Cruz, Vasquez and Byron Wiley each had two hits to lead the Wildcats on Thursday, while Vasquez drove in two of the Wildcats’ five runs.


Nebraska starter Charlie Shirek (2-7) suffered the loss after surrendering two runs on four hits in 3.0 innings.


Kansas State wraps up pool play in the Big 12 Tournament Saturday morning against fifth-seeded Texas A&M. First pitch is set for 10 a.m. To advance to Sunday’s championship game, K-State would need to defeat the Aggies on Saturday and then have Texas drop its Saturday afternoon game to Nebraska.