Wildcats Lose Third Straight One-Run Game
Wildcats Lose Third Straight One-Run Game
16-7 (2-0 Big 12)
11-12 (0-2 Big 12)
MANHATTAN, Kan. – K-State put the tying run 90 feet from home, but for the third straight game, the Wildcats fell in a one-run contest as they lost to No. 19 Oklahoma State, 5-4, on Friday at Tointon Family Stadium.
The Wildcats (11-12, 0-2 Big 12), whose overall losing streak is now at six games, chipped away at the Cowboys’ (16-7, 2-0 Big 12) 5-1 advantage with a run in the seventh and then two runs in the eighth. The bottom of the ninth, which followed Lucas Benenati stranding a potential insurance run at third base in the top half, saw Josh Rolette lead off with the second of his two hits in the game. Pinch runner Sam Chadick then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jake Scudder and to third on a groundout by Steve Serratore. Tyler Moore, who had three of K-State’s eight hits, poked a soft line drive on a 3-2 count to shallow right field, which was fielded by second baseman Jacob Chappell and thrown to pitcher Tyler Buffett to get Moore on a close play at first.
“It was a loss. You try to find a way to come back from it,” said K-State head coach Brad Hill. “(There) was a great competitiveness by our guys tonight. We just came back a run short. It was a good ball game, and (Chappell) made a heck of a play at the end of the game.”
The Wildcats, who lost the series opener on Thursday 2-1 after going 0-for-8 with runners on base, used eight hits and seven walks to put 15 runners on base on Friday. However, K-State, which had a runner in scoring position in seven innings, went 3-for-19 in RBI opportunities and stranded 11.
“We still missed the big hit tonight,” said Hill. “We had bases loaded (in the fourth) and the only way we score is on a passed ball. Our bats got better, but we are still missing that big hit with men on base.”
Oklahoma State, meanwhile, left nine runners on base and was 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position. Both teams have combined to strand 34 runners so far in the series (Oklahoma State, 16; K-State, 18).
Cowboy starting pitcher Trey Cobb did not factor into decision after he lasted 4 1/3 innings and allowed one unearned run, three hits and four walks. Garrett Williams, who spelled Cobb in the fifth, surrendered an unearned run as well in his 1 2/3 innings but earned the win in his first appearance of the season. Of the six pitchers used by Oklahoma State, five did not allow an earned run.
“A lot of what it is what they are doing on the mound,” said Hill about being unable to convert with runners in scoring position. “They lead the (Big 12) in ERA. They did a great job pitching, but we are doing it to ourselves a little bit, too. Hitting is a contagious thing. When guys start breaking through with some hits, they will start coming a lot more often. Right now, we are struggling to find a guy that will get the big hit for us.”
Moore’s three hits were a game-high and his most in a game since March 5. Rolette and Dalrymple had two hits apiece, giving them 10 and nine multi-hit games, respectively, this season.
Oklahoma State built its lead with the help of a two-run home run by Ryan Sluder in the third and a solo shot with two outs by Jon Littell in the fourth. Both homers were off K-State starting pitcher Parker Rigler, who suffered his fourth loss of the season after allowing three runs in five innings.
The Cowboys then plated a run in the sixth on an RBI single by Littell and then made it 5-1 with a run-producing double by Donnie Walton, which followed a leadoff walk, in the seventh.
The Wildcats quickly answered the run in the seventh when Rolette punched a single up the middle to drive in Clayton Dalrymple, who reached on a passed-ball third strike to start the frame. Prior to Rolette’s hit, K-State was 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position to start the game.
In the eighth, and facing a new pitcher in Joe Lienhard, K-State put two runners on with a leadoff walk by Serratore and single by Moore. The Cowboys went back to the bullpen in favor of Buffett, who earned the save in the series opener, and the right-hander induced a groundout to the right side that moved up Serratore and Moore to third and second base. Dalrymple then drove in Serratore with an RBI infield single before an errant throw by shortstop Walton on a groundball hit by Jake Wodtke allowed Moore to score and make it 5-4 Oklahoma State.
The Cowboys had the potential of adding an insurance run in the ninth, but Benenati worked around a leadoff walk, balk and wild pitch to strand Sluder at third. The senior struck out Walton for the first out and got a groundball with the infield drawn in for the second out before a fly out ended the threat.
In addition to Benenati’s strikeout in the ninth, Rigler and Brandon Erickson each had six strikeouts to help the Wildcats total 13 – one shy of a season-high. Erickson turned in his career-high six strikeouts over three innings while Rigler had his half-dozen in five innings.
K-State will look to salvage a game in the three-game series on Saturday at 2:05 p.m. Right-hander Corey Fischer will make his first start for K-State since March 11. Oklahoma will start right-hander Jensen Elliott on the mound.
The last time K-State lost three consecutive one-run games was in 2011 (March 19 at Texas, 3-4; March 20 at Texas, 5-6; March 25 at Baylor, 4-5).
Rolette’s two-hit effort extended his hitting streak to 11 games, tied for the longest by a Wildcat this season. He also has a 16-game on-base streak.
Tyler Wolfe stretched his on-base streak to 12 games after going 1-for-5.
Benenati is the first K-State pitcher to not allow a run in his first nine appearances of a season since Daniel Edwards in 2009 when he started the year with 12 consecutive scoreless games.