March 25, 2011
WACO, Texas - A leadoff error in the ninth inning proved costly as 21st-ranked Baylor scored twice to earn a 5-4 comeback victory over Kansas State Friday evening at Baylor Ballpark.
With the win, the Bears improved to 15-7 overall and 2-2 in Big 12 play. The Wildcats, who dropped their third straight contest after taking a lead into the late innings, fell to 12-8 overall and 0-4 in conference action.
Kansas State led 4-3 in the ninth with Evan Marshall (2-1) on the mound, who worked a perfect frame an inning prior. Baylor's Lawton Langford led off as a pinch-hitter and hit a 2-1 pitch back up the middle that shortstop Tanner Witt fielded behind the bag. But, Witt threw low to first, allowing Langford to reach safely.
Steve DalPorto followed with a sacrifice bunt to move Langford into scoring position before Landis Ware, who was 3-for-4 in the contest, singled into right field to tie the game at 4-4.
Ware stole second base before Brooks Pinckard flied out for the second out of the frame. Chris Slater then laced a 2-1 pitch into the right-field corner to drive home Ware with the winning run.
Baylor's Max Garner (1-0) picked up the win, surrendering an infield single and striking out two batters in two innings of relief.
The loss spoiled another solid performance by K-State starter Kyle Hunter, who tallied his fifth quality outing in six appearances this season. The left-hander worked seven innings, allowing three runs on seven hits with a pair of walks and six strikeouts in a career-high 119 pitches.
Baylor led 2-0 after two innings, scoring single runs on a RBI triple from Max Muncy in the first and another in the second on a single by Ware.
The Cats scored all four of their runs in the third as they sent nine men to the plate. Jake Brown and Witt led things off with a double and single, respectively, before Nick Martini smashed a double into right field for the Cats' first run.
Baylor starter Logan Verrett then hit Jason King to load the bases. Mike Kindel singled in front of Baylor right-fielder Cal Towey to score a run. Verrett struck out Kent Urban, but the right-hander walked Shane Conlon with the bases loaded to push across the Cats' third run. Freshman Jared King completed the scoring with a sacrifice fly deep into center field to make the score 4-2.
K-State recorded a one-out walk in the fourth inning, but Verrett bounced back as he retired seven straight batters until Brown doubled down the left-field line with two out in the sixth inning. K-State also got a two-out double in the seventh inning, but Verrett again slammed the door on the Wildcats.
Baylor pulled to within a run in the fourth when Ware doubled home DalPorto to make the score 4-3. The Bears threatened again in the fifth when Hunter surrendered a two-out single and walked a batter, but he struck out Towey to end the frame. That started a streak of seven straight batters retired by Hunter until K-State went to Marshall to begin the eighth.
Ware led all hitters with three hits and three RBI, while the Bears received two hits apiece from Slater and Muncy.
Four Wildcats - Witt, Kindel, Conlon and Brown - recorded eight of K-State's nine hits. Martini went 1-for-5 to extend his nation-leading streak of consecutive games reaching base to 80 games.
Kansas State and Baylor continue their series on Saturday with a 3 p.m. first pitch at Baylor Ballpark. The game can be heard in the Manhattan area on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN as well as online at www.k-statesports.com and www.1350kman.com.